Monday, August 6, 2012

Competing With Myself

I wouldn't call myself a competitive person in the traditional sense. Winning and losing has never meant much to me. Some of it comes from years of being picked last in activities as a child or from people assuming I can't play just because I have cerebral palsy, asthma and CF. I hate when people impose limitations on me without taking my opinion into account. I'm a free thinking, intelligent person who knows what my limitations are. Have enough respect for me to let me make that decision on my own.

My non competitive nature also comes from the examples I see from the ultra competitive people in my life. A lot of them are just jackasses who have no humility and no tact. There's a difference between being confident and cocky. A confident person is in the zone before they compete and then embraces their competitors the moment the competition ends. A confident person embraces a win with pride and humility and handles defeat with grace. A cocky person feels the need to rub their success in other people's faces. Or maybe they like to antagonize their competitors with their words and actions rather than deal with their own issues. The only positive thing that kind of attitude provides is the bulletin board material that will be used as motivation. So, in that vein, I say "Thank you, jackasses."

I used to compare myself to others all the time. Thoughts like "Why don't I have those things in my life? That person doesn't deserve it. How unfair!" would constantly run through my mind. I worried myself sick—literally and figuratively—thinking about what I couldn't do or what I didn't have. It was bitter time in my life that I look back on and shake my head in shame. Too often in the world we get angry at others achievements in life. The CF Community is no different. For every person that's inspired by a public figure for accomplishing a goal in the face of CF, there are detractors who lambaste them every step of the way. These detractors perceive it as a personal slap in the face or a sign weakness if someone is telling them how they can reach their goals and do great things. What they perceive may not be the reality...

More often then not, when a public figure shares their message or story, it's simply an example of what you can do when you set goals and work hard. Do some come off as the cocky jackasses I mentioned earlier? Yes, but most of the time I don't think it's done intentionally or maliciously. Regardless if we're talking about exercise, professional or personal achievements, they share their stories because they care about you and they want you to do the best you can with what you're given just like they have. Does that mean you have to run a race, have a baby or work 50 hours a week to be a successful person with CF? No. It means they want you to set YOUR OWN GOALS and achieve them. Sometimes I wonder if that's the message that gets lost in translation.

I received an email recently that said:

Dear Josh,

I hate CF and I feel like I'll never be able to do anything because of it. How do you stay so positive and how have you been able to do so many interesting things?


Anonymous Person

I think my answer fits very well into this post, so I thought I'd answer publicly:

Despite what people think of me and my persona as a public figure in the CF Community , I am a HUGE WORRIER. I worry all the time about money, my health, my relationships and my future. The one thing that keeps me peaceful is that I always seem to survive whatever it is I'm worried about. Life has a way of keeping me going even if I end up with some lifelong scars. It sounds weird, but my track record of hardships has become my saving grace.

I think I stay positive because I try not to measure my success against other people. I try my best to understand why someone says or feels the way they feel and why they do what they do, but if I feel it's a negative, I eliminate it or them from my life. I don't have time to waste my energy on negativity. I ALWAYS cheer on my CF kindred spirits (whether I agree with them or not) who are living their dreams despite our illness, but I feel no pressure to be them or emulate them because that's THEIR LIFE. I see what they do and it inspires me to be they best Josh I can be. And that attitude has opened tons of doors for me.

So, I guess you could call me a self-competitor. I've worked hard to survive life and to achieve the goals I set for myself. Sometimes I fall short of those goals, but then I regroup and try again. I know there are somethings I'll never achieve, but as I've said before, I'd rather try and fail than fail to try. When those moments that hurt my heart pop up from time to time, I take a step back and count all the good things in my life.

A roof over my head.
Food on my table.
My family and my friends.
I have the medicine I need and the doctors to take care of me.

Everything else is insignificant.

Always remember: You're a unique and talented. You're loved and lovable. You'll find your place in the world. Be inspired by others, but believe in yourself. Those who inspire us can only give us incentive. The rest of the hard work is in our hands. Set realistic goals, believe in yourself and do your best to achieve them. After all, if you don't believe in yourself, then why should anyone else?

Peaceful Things and Lots of Powerful, Positive Energy,



  1. I loved this post today! I am contemplating working less or not at all, but I keep comparing myself to others that have been able to do it all and feel bad for thinking about slowing down. I really appreciate how you said that all of the things you worry about end up working out in the end. I am going to keep that circulating in my mind over the next few months of uncertainty.

    Thanks, as always for sharing your wisdom!

    1. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself and evaluating your choices for the future. I know no matter what you decide, it'll be right for you, Stacey.

  2. Ur right on!!! Luv ur insight....
    Ur buddy...Bruno

    1. Thanks Bruno! You're a great example of being confident and not cocky. Hope things are going well for you, buddy!

  3. Josh I love this post. I think everyone in general always compares themselves to someone. I think you nailed it you can only strive to be positive and accomplish YOUR goals. There are no two people with CF who live the same life as we are all different. We may have many things in common but we all go down different paths.

    I have recently started bloggin myself. I invite you to check out my blog!

    1. Thanks, John!

      I'm following your blog and I'm looking forward to reading more about you. Congrats on the big news, by the way!

  4. Always proud to be your Momma. xoxox

  5. "The CF Community is no different. For every person that's inspired by a public figure for accomplishing a goal in the face of CF, there are detractors who lambaste them every step of the way. These detractors perceive it as a personal slap in the face or a sign weakness if someone is telling them how they can reach their goals and do great things. What they perceive may not be the reality..."

    Thank you for sharing this blog during a time when it is very relevant. I'm hoping that it will help people see other's perspective in a kinder, gentler light.


    P.S. I worry a lot too and totally dig what you say about all that :)

  6. Thanks Stephanie! I'm glad my thoughts resonated with you. :-D


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