It’s pretty to compare our lives with the lives of others, and sometimes feel we aren’t quite where we think we should be. Humans do this all the time, but when it begins to affect how we navigate life, it’s time to take a closer look. Are we seeing the whole story? Or, like us, were there obstacles of which we’re unaware? Most likely we’re comparing ourselves to an idealized story. But as seasoned hikers will tell you, ‘hike your own hike.’
It’s time to stop comparing
In our society, we tend not to compare ourselves to those who tend to commend themselves. Social Media is filled with detailed descriptions of someone’s latest triumph in whatever venue they travel, and if we, too, travel that same path, there is a tendency not to measure our own activities with these people. By putting our accomplishments, victories, and wins out in the public, there is a belief that this is possible only by the person who seems to have a better grasp on how to live life than we do. The thing about this, however, is we forget we are seeing only one aspect of a person’s life; a good aspect, to be sure, but not the entire story. We do not know, for example, what obstacles they faced, how long it took them to do, who may have helped them reach this pinnacle, and so many other factors that feed the basis of their story that we never see. And while seeing someone else at a personal ‘finishing line’ can be encouraging to our own goals, we also need to remember these are our goals, our desires, and that only by taking our own path will we reach them.
Hike your own hike
Hikers on the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and other long through-hikes have a saying: ‘Hike your own hike.’ That is, do your own thing, in your own way, at your own pace, and for your own reasons. Some people want to set a record for the fastest pace. Others want to enjoy the incredible scenery they encounter. Still others will want to make friends of those they meet while on the Trail, and some will want to enjoy the solitude out there. And all of them are right, doing it their way, and ignoring how others choose to accomplish this. Why is it, though, that we cannot seem to justify ‘hiking our own hike’ at other times? While at work, or with family, at church or school? We can, of course, but adjusting our thinking is key to doing this.
At work, we are hired to do specific things for our company that lead to further success, higher profits, and more clients, buyers, and supporters. Many fall into the ‘this is the way they do it here,’ mindset, and feel we need to put our preferences away and adapt to a preferred behavior. But as diversity breeds new knowledge, how we choose to navigate work can offer new methods, new thoughts, and new ways to succeed. A great sales team, for example, permits each individual to bring who they are and how they do things to the table, allowing those who work in different ways a glimpse of what might be possible. When ‘Jim’ sets sales records, and ‘Janet’ writes reports in record-time, ask them about this. ‘How do you…,’ is a great opening to learn and grow. They’re hiking their hike, enjoying their work, and are usually happy to share with others.
Looking past comparisons of ourselves with others and at what they might be doing, and what they accomplish helps us let go of measurements that do not serve us, and enable us to see the whole picture, not just a snapshot of a moment in time. This is the point where we teach and learn how to get through difficult situations, how to face particular problems, and how to contribute to the situation in the best way we know. All of a sudden, hiking our hike—in whatever form it takes—becomes simply how we accomplish things in the best way.
„Comparison is a waste of energy. Every individual is unique with unique talents. Find your passion and live your best life.”