This is an evolving post. Please come back and check it out once in a while.
Going through the quest of inspiring others, you’ll get caught in traps that will pull you down. It’s fine, and completely part of the process. Learn from your failures, mistakes, and move on stronger, wiser, and so on.
Sometimes, you’ll eventually have to fall in the same trap several times to get the lessons out of it and finally improve (tell me how many times I fell in love for the same type of person before really changing my perspective, truth was, I had to work on myself first, but that’s another story).
One way to avoid falling (too many times) into a trap is to hear from someone else’s experience. This is the goal of this post, help you to avoid making the same mistakes. Read, be aware of it, recognize the pattern, and grow. I won’t say it’s easy, those are all pretty common human being biases that are difficult to avoid, and being aware of them is only half the way.
- Don’t compare to others when challenging yourself. I fell too many times for this, and, at occasions, I still do so don’t feel bad if it happens to you, just try to recognize it and rectify. It works for both people that are better than you, and people that are less good than you. Let me give an example:
When I started pole dancing I was amazed by what I could do, and every progress was a victory over myself. I was inspiring a lot of my friends talking about it. It was great, and although I was progressing much slower than the other boys/girls, who were slimmer and stronger than me (most of them having an extensive experience in dance and gymnastics already), I was thrilled by my own achievements. I was getting better and better and, as it often happens in sports, I overdid it. I strained a muscle doing my first inversions. After a couple of months off the pole to heal, I came back and realized that my level did drop, not so much, but at least a little. It was painful. I’d put so much heart into it, just joined the 2nd level class, just to regress and go back to the first level. One of the best student told me she had the same issue, and that it was ok, I could catch up, and that even she could help me. It helped me feel a bit better… And then it hit me even harder. I saw one girl that began far after me and that I used to mentor, doing things after two months that I could not even do after a year of training. I was crushed. This gave me the final hit. And this was stupid. Of course she would be better than me after 2 months, she had years and years of dancing experience behind her before starting the pole. After learning the basic techniques she was good to go pro, and that’s expected! What was I thinking? And instead of feeling confident about myself and my capacities, as well as happy for her progresses (that part were thanks to me and my encouragements), I blew it and I stopped going for months, making up half-excuses that I did not have time anymore. This showed me how tricky and destructive comparing oneself to another could be. Now I am doing other thrilling activities, and I always try to keep that in mind.
- Don’t get pride get in the way. You can be proud of something: your achievements, achievements of others around you. Thit is healthy. You can have enough self-respect to stop somebody that is crushing you down, like an abusive boss that spends his/her day calling you words. That’s healthy too. What I am talking about is basic unfunded pride that is often the weak disguise of poor self-esteem and feeling of guilt (remember in the school playground, when kids said “If you get angry that means it’s true!”?… That thing). Sometimes your “pride” can get hurt by people only being themselves, like in my previous example, when I compared myself to this girl at pole dancing. That only means that there is something that you don’t want to face. Well, face it and make peace with it.