A few weeks ago, I successfully completed Tom Holland's ridiculous "handstand t-shirt challenge".
I have a few talents, but looking good while hanging upside down shirtless is not one of them... so I'll spare you the video of me actually completing it.
But trust me, I did it.
In fact, I did it in just 24 seconds.
That's pretty good, right? I mean, if you clicked that link above, you might have noticed that Tom Holland took a full 44 seconds to do it, and he's a lot younger and in a heck of a lot better shape than I am.
Personally, I thought 24 seconds was a fantastic time... right up until I saw a video of my cousin completing the challenge in just 9 seconds, without any of the panting or swearing featured in my own laborious attempt.
When I saw his video -- which his wife had posted to her private Instagram feed -- I sent him a text message that partially read, "You made that handstand challenge look stupid easy, I managed to do it, but it didn't look like yours!! Lol."
His response to that comment was brief but wise:
"I did have a lifetime of training... so...."
He had a great point.
I've been fairly active with CrossFit for the last two-and-a-half years, which is the only reason I can do a 24-second wall-handstand in the first place. But that's the most athletic I've ever been. Emphasis on the word "ever".
My cousin happens to be a recently-retired NHL hockey player. He has quite literally been training as an elite athlete for most of his life.
Does it ever make sense to compare your performance, as a beginner, to the performance of those who have spent years -- or even decades -- perfecting their skills?
The bad news is there are really only two ways to answer that question:
1) "I'm probably not going to ever be able to compete with them, so why bother trying at all?"
2) "I'm not able to compete with them... today. But if I put in enough work -- just like I know they did -- I know can get really, really good too! Maybe not as good as them, but certainly a lot better than I am now."
The good news?
You get to choose how you answer the question.
P.S. As silly as Holland's challenge was, I didn't think I would ever be able to complete it... but I did! As another NHL player once said, "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take."