Sometimes it’s not so bad to compare

It just depends on who you are comparing yourself too.

I know that when I want to get stronger, fitter, faster or leaner I look towards someone inspirational (see previous post for more on that).  And while I acknowledge thats a good thing, in fact probably an essential thing… it’s not the only thing.

In the book Shantaram the author finds himself living in a large slum in Bombay, India.  Despite the squalor and filth, he is surprised to find a strong sense of order, of community and hierarchy.  When talking to one of the residents who’s job it is to sweep the porches of the shops surrounding the slums.  I use the term ‘shops’ loosely here too.  More like small, ramshackle tin sheds with the occupants selling a range of reused, recycled things for mere rupees, the author comments “How can you always be smiling?”.  “You have so little and work so hard for virtually nothing when so many people around you have more?”  The little Indian man responds (with a smile on his face “Ahhh… that’s the problem with you Westerners.  You’re always comparing yourselves to the people above you or on TV.  Me, I compare myself to the man with no legs and no home begging for scraps while pushing himself around on an old skateboard.”.

I get this.  He’s talking about gratitude versus envy.  I’d much rather be grateful than envious but beware.  Our consumerist society programs us to envy those with more, fitter bodies, more money, brighter smiles and better lives.  Take time out to compare yourself with those less fortunate than you are.  It won’t be hard to find them.  You’ve got more to be grateful for than perhaps you realise.  🙂

So anyway, I trained with a mate of mine who hasn’t trained in a while.  My goal was to make him spew (he said he wanted to go hard) and I reckon I came pretty damn close. he he.  So my reflection was that even though I might not have achieved all my fitness goals (yet) I had certainly come along way from where I was and where he was currently at.

Have a great day.


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