How You See Things
Last week, I stumbled upon an interesting study that was simple, yet profound. The study stated that people were generally much happier if they used a certain phrase instead of another.
The first was, “I’m glad I’m not…” (fill in the blank with whatever you want).
The second statement was, “I wish I was…”
This short study struck me and got my gears turning for a few reasons, most likely because I recalled using one of those statements in excess all weekend.
“Whoa, I wish I had a bike like that. Even just to take it for a test ride would be fun!”
“Ahhh, I wish it wasn’t raining!”
“I wish this smokey casino had better food options!” (yes, our race was hosted at a Harrah’s)
“I wish I was a better swimmer.”
“I wish this headwind wasn’t so intense.”
“I wish I could keep up with that older lady that just blew past me on the run!”
As opposed to what I could have been thinking…
“I’m glad I came out of that swim feeling strong.”
“I’m sure glad I didn’t get a flat or crash on that one sketchy corner.”
“I’m glad I beat my goal pace on the run by 11 seconds per mile!”
Here’s what I found: One way of looking at it tends to make you feel better, and one way tends to…not help anything or anyone!
I don’t like comparison for a number of reasons, and the lame thing is, I still catch myself doing it sometimes. (Not to self: Stop it!) Not only is comparing yourself to others like using an uneven scale (it’s like apples and oranges), it’s a trap that leaves you stuck and feeling like crap.
The only comparing I need to be doing is that of this race and my last race.
I like to think that I’m continually improving my performance, not only my physical performance on race day, but my mental performance, to enjoy every minute of this sport.
Choosing To Be Happy
Looking back, I had an absolute blast over the weekend and no longer dwell on any of those things. So, my question for myself is, “Why do I think that way then, especially if it doesn’t matter now?”
I think that most of us can be about as happy as we choose to be, so I’m deciding to be happy about my race last weekend. Sure, there are areas to improve, so I’ve decided to let that motivate me, rather than beat myself up about what I wish I did or dwell on my mistakes and remain disappointed.
So what’s the moral of this blog post? There’s always more than one way of looking at a situation, and the fact of the matter is, some ways of seeing things generally makes for a better, or at least a more fun experience. Along with that is doing the right kind comparing – comparing my own goals with myself – not with others I don’t even know.
And then there’s the choice to be made at the beginning and end of every race…and the beginning and end of every day, for that matter. For me personally, I’ll be seeking the balance of choosing to be happy with myself and objectively looking for ways to stay motivated and continue to improve.