I watched the 2012 Summer Olympics Women’s All-around gymnastics competition hosted in London. United States competitior Gabby Douglas won gold, the fourth American woman in Olympic history to claim the title.
During the competition, broadcasters commented that she and fellow US competitor, Aly Raisman (finished fourth), did not watch their competitors perform. They intentionally avoided looking, focusing instead on their own preparedness.
Gabby performed with precision and confidence, her hard work on display to the watching world. She was not affected by the successes and failures of her competitors, because she wasn’t focused on them. She knew if she watched them fail, she may become insecure about her own abilities and make a mistake, or she may become overconfident and not bring her best. If she watched them succeed, she may feel pressure to perform to their standard, rather than to the standard of her own abilities and training. She instead focused only on what she knew she could do, and it paid off.
Sometimes I can focus in the wrong place. While I should be concentrating on my own preparedness for the task at hand, I can get distracted and start comparing myself to others.
Comparing myself to others makes me:
- Insecure about my abilities, and afraid of failing
- Feel pressure to perform to the standard of others
- Overconfident about my abilities, and less prepared for the hard work success requires
Instead of comparing to others, I need to compare myself to my potential. I don’t need to be the best at what I do. I just need to be my best.
Comparing myself to my potential makes me:
- Confident about what I can do, and happy with the results knowing I did my best
- Free to perform to the standard of my capabilities
- Humble as I realize the hard work required to get where I want to go
When our focus is on our potential, we can maximize our abilities and take pride in the results.