I have been doing CrossFit here in Edinburgh for about four months now and I feel myself getting stronger for every passing week. I can tell from the weights and repetitions but also from the fact that every workout is timed, so to give you a way to compare yourself to others and your previous workouts.
All this time there’s been one woman who has kept kicking my ass. As I complete my workout; drenched in sweat, gasping for air and feeling ready to crawl into a coffin, she merrily skipped around to put away her gear, having completed the workout way before me.
It’s been quite demoralizing to never seem to be able to close this gap.
Then I recently decided to ramp up my effort and train for five to six days a week, up from three. Surely this must help my progress!
The funny thing is that day after day as I came in to workout; guess who was there? It turns out she was already training six days a week. While I was grumpy of having my ass handed to me, she was doubling my effort.
Results and effort
I was comparing our results, completely disregarding our efforts, and this is of course interesting also outside of the world of CrossFit. I am pretty sure I fall into the very same trap in a multitude of other cases.
The problem of looking at result is that you can often not directly control it. If you want another output, the only thing you can do is change your input.
Would I like a higher salary — why do I keep working at this job? Am I in a shitty relationship — what have I put into it? Is my code not good enough — how much do I excercise programming?
I don’t think it’s bad to compare yourself to others but doing so on result is not the way. Instead ask yourself; what was I doing when X stayed up working on his business all night? Or; what was Y doing when I lay in my sofa, binge watching Breaking Bad?
You might be surprised and humbled by the answers.