If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”, I would have enough cash for a two bedroom condo in Cancun. Private pool and beach access accompanied with a scenic view. With the remaining cash, I'd buy a ton of Churros solely for the feeding of local wild animals.
You get the point by now...
If you're anything like me, then you’ve had moments where you felt stuck in a situation that you no longer wanted to be in. Maybe you feel like the people around you are leaving you behind. Like you're not moving fast enough, or perhaps you're moving too fast and need to slow down.
A marathon is best ran at your own pace, and if life is often compared to being a marathon, then your pace is a crucial factor in your life.
After I graduated from college, time had come for me to partake in this race that everyone was calling “adulthood." So I laced up my sneakers and took off. During the race I made observations of other runners and noticed something very interesting. Something that every runner around me was doing, myself included. I noticed that we were all adjusting our pace based on how nearby runners were moving. I noticed people sprinting when they should've been jogging and vise-versa. It's like we were compromising our own sense of individuality just to compete. This is similar to how we subconsciously adopt societal biases based on learned behavior. We compare ourselves to our family, friends, neighbors, and random people we do not know on social media.
The idea about pacing yourself goes completely out the window when comparisons come into play.
Now everyone is sprinting in a marathon to get ahead. We pursue meaningless gratification during the process, and get stuck with an empty feeling at the end. The world is evolving every day, and we feel like if we do not get with the program then we will get left behind. So now we're programmed to be addicted to the program. Subsequently, we lose faith in the pace that was meant for us and focus on the pace of others. A little competition never hurts anyone, but the problem arises when egos gets involved.
Hip-Hop artist, J. Cole, hit the nail right on the head when he said,“there’s no such thing as life that’s better than yours." So stop seeking validation from others that you are moving at the right pace. Look into your heart. Are you really happy? Are you fulfilled with your day-to-day? Do you actually believe that you are leading yourself somewhere meaningful? If not, then welcome to the rat race, where you will be stuck in a cycle of self-defeating days. A cycle of, “ugh Mondays”. A cycle of, “thank God it’s Friday." A cycle you don’t want to be in. According to the book "Top Five Regrets Of The Dying", the biggest regret that most dying people had was that they regretted not having the courage to live the life that they wanted.
In other words, many people never stick with their own pace or live in a way that they can truly feel excited about!
Do what you can in your own shoes. Some people will get where they want faster, others will arrive eventually. Take it from my little brother who was too eager to get behind the wheel after I started driving. He was too focused on keeping up with my pace and ended up wrecking the family Mercedes because he decided to drive prematurely (love you little bro).
Our mental well-being is extremely important. I would rather impact one million people in five years and have my peace of mind than to impact one million people in a month and lose myself doing so.
I am challenging you to be more cognizant of when you are comparing your pace to the pace of others. Doing this will put you in a better position to hurdle over unwarranted stress so that once you are at the finish line, you will be proud of the marathon you ran.
My friend Marvin always reminds me of his favorite quote, “it’s not about the trajectory, it’s about the velocity. It’s not about how fast you’re going, but where you’re going.”