Comparing ourselves to others isn’t healthy. But, unfortunately, it’s human nature to do it anyway. Is there a way of getting this unhealthy habit under control? Maybe there is.
I stumbled upon something relevant by comedian Tom Shillue that makes perfect sense to me, tips that actually work. Yes, he’s a comedian, not a fitness guy, as far as I know anyway. But his message has universal truth (you can access it at the end of the newsletter).
His trick, if you can manage it, is to derive inspiration from highly successful people, but at the same time keep a healthy perspective if we ourselves do not reach the top rung on the ladder.
Personally, it’s no secret that I like fitness and admire those who have reached the pinnacle of the fitness lifestyle. But I never achieved greatness as an athlete or fitness buff myself.
Jack LaLanne once did one thousand consecutive push-ups on
national television; he also made many long-distance swims — while handcuffed — pulling boatloads of fans in the cold waters of San Francisco Bay, and his personal workout challenges were legendary. He had a nationally televised exercise program and lived, actively, to age 96.
All that Jack LaLanne and I had in common is that both of us embraced a fitness lifestyle, which began in our teens. Any of my accomplishments, however, unlike LaLanne’s, were quite modest. Nevertheless, my comparatively small attainments have enriched my life. And fortunately, for me, I’ve never felt envious of others whose achievements were far greater than my own.
Like Tom Shillue, I came to the realization long ago that comparing myself in a negative light to superstars would get me nowhere. I can go to my own website and click on “Your Stories" and find example
after example of people who have overcome obstacles to improve their lives. Some are more accomplished than I am, some less. But all, I would argue, are better off for having decided to follow a fitness lifestyle. With a few of them, I played some role in their fitness lifestyle journey. I’m pleased with that.
Suppose they had instead gotten caught up in comparing themselves to super-athletes of some sort and figured “I can never be that good, so why make the effort?” Thankfully they didn’t. Rather, they found inspiration, took the soundest advice they could get, and worked with the hand they’d been dealt.
That to me is the definition of living a successful life.
And like Tom Shillue, they got it just right. Take a look at his message here.
Stay healthy. Stay fit.
Senior Exercise Central
My Photographs: Subscribers ask when the newsletter photo at the top and my website pictures were taken. As I write this, I’m 85 years old. The photos were taken when I was a mere 70. Though I remain active, I am no longer nearly as muscular as I was 15 years ago. —LF
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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.
I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.
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The newsletter and website provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and
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