- Why comparison is holding you back
- The importance of mindset
- An honest self-assessment
What’s up guys, and welcome back to another episode. Today is a short one. The past two have been a little longer than I’d like, so I’m going to give you guys a break this week. But more so, I’ve just had some conversations with some athletes this past week that have really just sparked this podcast topic for today, which is “Run Your Own Race,” aka just comparison.
I wanted to talk about this because in these conversations with these athletes, as I’m having them, you can tell that they had this mindset of almost like this negative tone. And while this process is so long, which we all know, it was really impacting their progress, it was impacting just how they were handling things. If there was any type of setback, it just felt like it was just this black hole.
I just wanted to talk about it today because I think it’s really important to understand the comparison. And we’re all very guilty of doing it on a daily basis, especially now with social media. But we do it all the time. Like someone with a nice car or even, they got that nice brace on their knee. We do it all the time. And it’s just something that I think if we have this in check a little bit better, it can really help our mindset and especially during this ACL rehab process.
Some of the examples that I’ll hear is an athlete comparing to one of their teammates who are going through the ACL rehab process, and maybe they are along the same timeline. And that teammate might be ” ahead or progressing” a little faster than the other person is. And that’s really tough to deal with. Or maybe it’s you’re in the physical therapy clinic and you see 55-year-old Karen recovering from her ACL rehab, and she’s just crushing it. Let’s not forget some of these professional athletes who make these epic comebacks we need to understand the context.
The one you hear all the time is Adrian Peterson. And for those of you who don’t know. He is a professional American football player. Actually, I’m not sure if he’s actually still playing, I think so. Anyways, he is someone who tore his ACL and he came back in, I believe it was four and a half months.
Now, for any of you listening, do not ever take this example because he is a superhuman. He had all the resources that he could have had, and it’s an “N” of one. He’s one person and he’s an anomaly to just recovery and human genetics. Let’s just let that go.
The other thing that I will see, too, especially with social media, especially with Instagram, is a lot of you’re scrolling, checking out exercises and how other people are doing and what things that you could be doing or where you should be at. I find a lot of people come and message me on Instagram, this is where I’m told I should be at. And they see maybe a video of another athlete doing something. And it puts them into this kind of guilty feeling of, why are they not progressing the way that they should? And it happens to me, too. I remember when I was going through my second ACL injury that there was someone else who was along the same timeline as me.
And I remember there was this one moment when I had a hiccup in my hamstring. And this other person kept progressing and they were onto plyometric stuff. I was like, “Dang, I wish I was there.” And I could see that kind of creeping into my mindset. I could see myself kind of dipping into, well, will I ever get there, or these hiccups that come up. It was really impacting my own progress and what was going on. And this might be happening to you as well.
This is something that I just want to bring to light and it can really impact your mindset. It can make you push too hard as well. You see someone else doing something and it could put you at risk for injury. It really can. So that’s where the guided program as well as a coach to have alongside you, that you trust is important. But then also making sure that along this process that your mindset is constantly being refined and that you honestly just kind of keep that in check of what you’re allowing in and not.
And there’s a quote that is pretty famous from Theodore Roosevelt. It’s “comparison is the thief of joy.” And I really do believe that. And we see that all the time, as I talked about with social media, and especially with so much that you can see around the world at this point. It is something that can really rob you of happiness and put you into, “this not-so-good place.” Make sure that you are looking at that.
And one thing that I did want to say is that, with working with so many people with ACL injuries and other injuries that come along with it, there is no one ACL injury that is the same. There’s no surgery that is the same. So that means that each person is going to respond differently based on the situation, their body, the surgery, and all of these different factors. So that’s where I have a problem with timelines. And while time is valuable; there are so many other things that are going to be important in this process. Make sure that you’re keeping that in the front of mind and knowing that it’s your own race and a comparison of yourself, and no one else.
Some action items to really bring this home. I want you to take a step back, if you’re feeling any type of negative emotions through this process, and especially right now. See if it’s because of comparison, see if it’s because of getting on social media and you see someone else doing some running or some jumping or something like that. And you’re just like, “Man, I wish I was there.” And it’s cool to use that as fuel and motivation, but it’s another thing if it seems to be impeding you, putting you in a place that is not positive. See where it’s coming from and just stop it, especially if it’s negative, just stop it. If it’s IG, the PT clinic, or your teammate, just focus on yourself, take it day by day, not looking at caring about IG, there’s only one of you, so get 1% better each day.
And a reminder to any of you, it’s a long journey and our mindset is going to be so important in this process. It’s going to go up and down. It’s not going to be this perfect linear as time goes on, it’s going to get harder sometimes. And what I often find is that in the middle phases is where people start to really creep in with this mindset stuff. Make sure that you are looking at that, understanding the journey and you will be stronger for it, I promise you. But this is so important. And I just want to remind you as an athlete to focus on this, alongside your physical rehab that you are doing, and just make sure you’re running your own race, you against yourself, and not against caring on IG or your teammate.
So that’s it for today, guys. I just want to come on and talk about this. I think it’s really important. It serves as a reminder. If you guys have any thoughts or any questions, please send them my way, on Instagram ravipatel.dpt, or send me an email Ravi R-A-V-I at the aclathlete.com. But that does it for this episode, guys, I appreciate you all so much again, and I’ll catch you next week.
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