Excerpt on COMPARING vs. COMPETING from my upcoming book!

Hey gang, I thought you might enjoy a sneak preview of some of what you’ll find in my upcoming book, The Confidence of a Champion.  The following section discusses the difference between comparing and competing and how it can affect your confidence.  I hope you enjoy it!

God bless, Tim Marks


Comparing and competing are very similar in that they involve spending a lot of time thinking about how you stack up against another guy. But in the case of comparison, that’s all there is. Comparison tends to devolve into either self-flattery (“Look at how great I am because I’m better than Bob,”) or self-pity (“Look at how terrible I am because I’m worse than Bob.”)  Both of these responses involve sitting around and staying the same as you are now. You are either patting your own back or kicking your own butt. Competition goes one critical step further than comparison: you not only think about the other guy, your reflection drives you to take action. Comparison merely says, “I hope the other guy isn’t very good so I can seem better.” Competition says, “I hope the other guy brings his A-game so it forces me to become better.” Comparison says, “Look at where I AM.” Competition says, “Look at where I am GOING.”

Wallowing in comparison will simply beat down our attitude and our activity; we risk feeling discouraged and might stop sharing our talents with the world.  We each have our God-given talents, but we don’t need to search very long to find someone who is better than us at a particular talent.  For example, I regularly speak in front of business audiences of hundreds and thousands of people.  In one sense, you might say I am an accomplished professional speaker.  But I am no Zig Ziglar (who went to be with the Lord in November of 2012).  He was, in my opinion, the best motivational speaker of all time.  He was the Michael Jordan of speaking.  But he had a very unique style.  I should not try to emulate his style because, unless I was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and lived in Texas I couldn’t do justice to his deep southern drawl.  There will always be someone who is better than us at something.  God created Zig to be Zig and He created me to be me.  Don’t try to copy people; be your own unique version of excellence.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Insist on yourself. Never imitate.”  Don’t blindly copy someone else.  You are an individual.

Competition helps us strive for greater heights and break through limiting beliefs.  If someone else is a champion, it can show us what is possible for us if we apply the same dedication to mastery that the other guy invested.  If we can find someone who has conquered a Goliath which we are facing, it can inspire us to believe that we could also succeed.   Looking at other people’s success should inspire and motivate you.  Maybe I’m just hard-wired that way I can look past how their amazing performance trounced mine.  It’s a delicate balance; on one hand, you are okay that they are winning; on the other hand, it needs to bug you enough for you to take action.

Perhaps in the past we might have looked at someone else’s amazing performance and felt we needed to make excuses for why we aren’t competing at their level.  We fire up the “excuse making machine” and say things like, “They must have better genetics, etc.”  Maybe that’s true.  And maybe they also had to overcome a brutally abusive childhood.  For everyone who believes the path to success was easy for a champion, I’ll show you a Michael Jordan who got cut from his high school basketball team.   If you catch yourself making excuses, you’ve got to “pattern interrupt” (more on that later.)  You’ve got to reframe the event in your mind and say instead, “If they overcame those terrible obstacles, I’m going to have a much easier road to success.”

Without proper success thinking, some people look at others at their best and their confidence spirals downward.  This depends a lot on how you view your fellow man.  You must remember when you see a champion that he has undoubtedly worked harder than others for years.  Recognize if someone is farther along the journey than you.  If they have been practicing golf for twenty years and you’ve been practicing for twenty days, that’s an unfair comparison.  Also, don’t compare the date you both started; compare how many hours of practice you’ve engaged in since then, and the quality of that practice.  Maybe you and a buddy have both had a golf membership for ten years.  If your friend has been practicing three hours a day, seven days a week for ten years, that’s 10,000 hours of mastery.  If you only play one game a month, you just aren’t going to be playing at the same level.  You can’t expect to be great without paying the same dues.  If I am willing to do what champions did I can be a gold medalist in my sport, my marriage or my business.  So get fired up when you see someone performing at a higher level!  Rather than wallowing in comparison, a competitive spirit will drive you to improve, as you realize that you can follow the same principles of practice over time.


43 thoughts on “Excerpt on COMPARING vs. COMPETING from my upcoming book!”

  1. Tim,
    I can’t wait to read your book! This is a tough subject – not comparing yourself to others and puffing out our chests or beating ourselves up. But competing instead, drives us to improve.
    As always, thanks for your words of wisdom!

  2. I can’t wait to read this! I personally struggle with this on a day to day basis. Thank you so much for doing everything you do, God bless.

  3. I’m chomping at the bit!!!! This is going to be a great book just from that one little piece you put out there. Thanks again for everything you do!!

  4. Wow. You have been busy and we are greatful for all your efforts. This was a great peek. Lolling forward to reading from front to back.

    Win the Day!

    Be safe – Tony

  5. I am really looking forward to your book falling into the hands of those pursuing excellence! The content covered, like this blog post, will really help people audit themselves and apply PDCA!

  6. Wow. That was just the post I needed. I definitely have been guilty of comparing instead of completing. It made it easier to rest on my laurels or give up. But that’s not what champions do! It reminds me of Chris Brady’s story of excelling in motor cross and college. He found people better than him, trained/studied with them until he was better than them, then moved up to the next level!

    Thank you for being a great example of a changed life. I can’t wait to spend time with you when you come out to California!

    Jeff Campbell 🙂

  7. Sneak previews are always welcomed, Tim, especially when the coming attraction is as great as I know your sequel book will be 🙂

    Thank you for thinking of us in your decision to share!

  8. Thanks for tidbit of the book. Every time I read something from any of LIFE members it is amazing how it applies to my life. This excerpt was just what I needed at the moment now. Thank you. Can’t wait to read the rest of the book.

  9. Wow! I predict this will be the second of many great books to come from Tim Marks! Your books will help reveal how you accomplish so much in all areas of your life. Thank You

  10. I love it! I am so excited you have written another book; your first impacted so many lives. This lack-of-confidence issue stifles so many could-be champions. I look forward to reading the completed product! God bless, Terri

  11. Tim I am really looking forward to reading your book! I know you have poured your best into this book and it will help thousands of people in the first couple months that it is realeased.. Can’t wait


  12. This makes me appreciate the recognition portion of the LIFE events…it creates this healthy competition and drives people to action!

  13. Great stuff Tim, Looking forward to the release of your book. Cant wait to get my hands on the finished product and dive in.
    “Drive fast and take chances”
    Jamie Bowlin

  14. Tim
    You are the example to follow on how to channel competition. You show how to make it a healthy advantage to reaching success.


  15. Tim, that post was JUST what I needed!! I’m a comparising fool!! Competetion has always been a negative word because I thought of someone losing. For some unknown reason I never thought of the competetors actually getting better. Wow, can’t wait to read your new book and many more to come!!

  16. The beauty of being uniquely created individuals gives me the responsibility to take that uniqueness and do the best I can with it to change me and the world around me. For we should not compare ourselves to ourselves but seek to please God in all the things that we do. Thank you Tim for this post, greatly appreciated! Looking forward to the release of your new book, congratulations!

  17. Tim, I can’t wait to read this book. From the sneak previews it definitely will be a timely and important read for me!

  18. You have embodied this principle. How refreshing it will be to read this book, knowing it is written by someone who has battled through the concepts and ideas shared, rather than only sharing great theory they themselves read somewhere or thought one time. Can’t wait!!

  19. Tim, thank you for the appetizer to your next book.

    One of the ways you can leverage what you have learned through the journey of life is to put the thoughts down and publish them for wide distribution. Many people will benefit from what you have learned on the journey.

    Thank you for your Godly example as you lead your family and team.

  20. I just listened TEAM 741 … It is great the way u explain commitment and preference … I read your 1st book, it was very helpful … I am pretty sure this second book will have a positive-ripple effect too … and, finally, I hope one day you will write a book on Posture, with real life examples included … I hope you are going to do an open in Southfield, Michigan soon … You are a great teacher … Ty

  21. Tim,
    This was an amazing write up. I think that it should be posted in every Corporate lunch room and High School locker rooms. I cannot wait for your second book to come to us. Thanks for your inspiration and leadership.

  22. I love the way you lay things out. Easy to read but has so much meat in it. Can’t wait to read it. That exerpt was great because it is a topic most of us love to ignore. You put it out there in a way that makes so much sense. Thanks for leading by example.

  23. Thank you for this excerpt from what is going to be another great motivational book. Can hardly wait to read the whole thing. I am so thankful God brought LIFE and the wonderful people involved into my life.

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