Recently Kelvin Kiptum won the TCS London Marathon 2023 in the second fastest time in world history. At the young age of 23 years, he has proven his capability in the last year by becoming the fastest-ever marathon debut at the Valencia marathon in 2022. On the other hand, Eluid Kipchoge, who is considered the all-time best long-distance runner of the world finished 6th in the Boston Marathon, his slowest till now. He is now 38 years old. Both are Kenyans.
There are discussions as to whether Kelvin is coming up as Kipchoge 2.0. It certainly puts a lot of pressure on Kelvin to perform. He has just begun and is yet to prove his ability to continue with the same amount of success and energy in future. In many sports, it is easy to start well but not easy to continue that efficiently. It doesn’t mean the player is not good, but sometimes it is difficult to sustain the performance. In such cases, when people raise the expectation by comparing with someone who has been steady and successful, the amount of stress on the newcomer is evident. Many athletes and sportspersons have started with a bang but then missed the bus for various reasons. What will happen to Kelvin is a separate story, but coming under such comparison, too quickly at the early stage of his career, will put him under pressure.
Have you ever come under such pressure of performance? It might be in your office space, or in areas of personal life. It might be a comparison with someone known to you or unknown. Boss compares two employees with an intention to improve their performance. Parents also compare their children with their classmates. But such parity is useless and counterproductive. Many people succumb to such comparisons and lose their steam. How do you tackle that kind of pressure? It is better to make it clear to whoever is making such comparisons that you are not looking at the situation from that angle. You might have to say that you are unique in your own way and would like to retain that specificity. Without losing your cool, better to ward off that kind of pressure. The most important aspect is that in your mind also, you should retain your uniqueness. Do not juxtapose yourself, ever, with anyone similar to you.
‘Comparision is the thief of joy.’ – Theodore Roosevelt