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Mindful Monday_ComparisonsNo two granules of sand are alike, no two snowflakes identical, no two people the same. In all the ways we are extraordinarily similar, we’re distinctly unique. The similar composition with which we are comprised tends to allow us to more readily compare our self to others and this is typically done from a singular, outward view. However, each of our existences are fundamentally different where one minor detail within our field of experience has the ability to leave us miles apart from someone else of equal composition within any number of days, let alone years. One slight degree of separation coming from distinctly unique experiences and in enough space, two ‘similar’ people are on opposite sides of the globe. Subsequently, just in the way we have a multitude of peers, we have no peers.

Competition is a distinct part of human culture. Not in a biological sense over resources that prolong existence, but within our chosen endeavors. Within every single action, there always seems to be a way to quantify one individual’s efficiency or effectiveness against another’s. The outcome is subjective in nature if we are able to look beyond the temporary condition that led to it. When we allow our self to peel back one individual’s performance layer by layer, we will see different experiences, opportunities, circumstances, and conditions that led to the outcome. No true level playing field exists. Outside of controlled conditions, there is no such thing as evenly matched individuals. Hard work, dedication, commitment, desire, grit, and determination have a hard time countering the same qualities within another individual that has been playing the game much, much longer. There are lessons to be learned, invaluable obstacles to overcome, and setbacks to be considered. This is what experience provides.

When peeling back competition, while there may be others in the midst, there truly is no one else. One person’s journey and spot to the line is incalculably different from another’s. We are unable to quantify the vast majority of experiences while simultaneously applying significance and value to them. Consequently, we are simply the summation of our experiences and therefore, will never be equal with another within this competitive reference point, as each of us have our own unique experiences. The playing field is not level, nor will it ever be. In comparing one set of circumstances to another, true levity will never be found. The scale will always favor one side over the other. Competition against another is a human construct and like us, it is flawed.

Competition against our self however, is real. The only comparison that matters is the one done in the mirror. Our past and our innate ability are our only true peer. This is the stick we need to be measuring against. Are we doing what we need to be doing to be more than we were last year, last month, yesterday, or ten minutes ago? Are we a better version of our self than we were? When we are able to answer yes, then we are truly winning despite coming up short to someone else who may have more experience, knowledge, and know how than we do. Someone else’s experiences are something we should look to not as a differentiator, but as a playbook to draw from. What are the little things they are doing that have led them to be where they are at, which is where we want to go? How can we learn from their lessons to be more than we currently are?

Tommy spent six and a half years in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer, holding numerous leadership positions and doing multiple combat deployments. Upon leaving the service, he worked with multiple nonprofits, helping wounded service members and veterans recover through cycling and triathlon. This work deeply resonated with him and led him to pursue a Master of Arts in sport psychology.

Working in this capacity, Tommy embraces the wise words of Henry Ford, who once said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford was talking about mindset. Mindset is everything. The way we think, the way we interpret sensory information, and our ability to thrive in complex environments are all determined by our mindset. It grounds our approach. It either helps us get where we want to go, or it is what is holding us back. With this understanding, Tommy works with athletes, performers, and business professionals, to hone their mindset, enabling them to find the results commensurate with their innate abilities.

Tommy is an active endurance athlete residing in Boulder, and can be found on the roads, trails, and pools in the local area.

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