Comparison and Statistics

G’day friends and welcome to another week and another post!

I have spoken about many topics across the three years of this blog. However, I have never talked about comparison and Statistics!

The world is full of comparisons; that is what we humans do 24/7! We compare what we look like, what we do, how much we earn, our homes, partners, hobbies, and fitness. The list goes on and on and on!!

However, there is one comparison that I feel isn’t talked about a lot. And that is statistics. Especially in the medical field

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when comparison can be beneficial. You can push yourself to improve, recognise what you like and don’t appreciate about your life and make necessary changes.

In the disability world, we compare condition to condition; we are compared to statistics from research on our condition. After that comparison, we are given life expectancy, treatment options, referrals to other specialists and offered advice.

Let me be clear and say that listening to doctors is essential!!! They didn’t spend 8-plus years pulling all-nighters with their heads buried in textbooks, lectures, and practicals to be told they don’t know anything or not to be taken seriously! I loved my team of doctors growing up!

What I am saying is that sometimes the comparisons and statistics, while legit, may not be the best fit for every person who walks (or rolls) into the doctor’s office.

I took the statistics and research like gospel growing up. I discovered my life expectancy in an email that I wasn’t meant to see, and upon research and listening to doctors, it was ‘confirmed’ at 19. When I saw that email, I wasn’t even 13 yet. What that did to my confidence, and zest for life was horrid. I was already struggling with self-esteem issues, and feelings of hopelessness, and to hear and read what the ‘statistics’ predicted for myself, added more fuel to the negative fire.

My doctors/ specialists also raised concerns about me riding horses, walking a 2km cross country in school. In fact, that 2km cross country in year 11 they were pretty firm about me not participating as they feared I would break a leg, and recovering would be a nightmare based on research. I did that 2km without injury and recovered fine! And last time I checked, I am still very much walking.. which based on statistics and comparison, I should have been in a wheelchair permanently nearly 10 years ago!

When we constantly compare ourselves to statistics or others, it can massively decrease our self-esteem because we tend to believe it so much that we give up on doing or trying the things we want to do!

And when you defy what the data says, you are looked upon like you have false hope and that it isn’t anything significant. The day I told my doctor I got up off the floor for the first time in years, despite them saying I would never do that again based on data, they looked at me like they didn’t believe me.

I immediately felt like I was crazy and that the statistics were what was true, and what I was experiencing with being able to gain some strength wasn’t real. Therefore, I was utterly crazy, who didn’t matter. That was the story I told myself before that appointment, but it was confirmed by one dismissive look the specialist gave.

In counselling or life coaching, there is a term called Neuro Linguistic Programming. Its essentially brain language. What we tell oursleves over and over again that we ultimately feel is truth about our selves or our situation. Countless people believe that the negative story programming we use is learnt, and can be rewired into something more positive. The story I told myself time and time again was I was a burden, crazy, weak, not important, invisible.

And that appointment made me feel all of those things. Because the statistics ‘never lie’. Which is true! They don’t lie!. Because those statistics is actually someone’s (or a group of someone’s) life! But those statistics weren’t my life. I wasn’t anywhere near close to those statistics. Over time, I have had to rewire my mental programming, the stories I tell myself about my life, into believing in my worth and that I am not weak or crazy or not necessary, and I am more than being compared to a number. Because last time I checked, I am a living, breathing human, not pixels on a screen, or a mark of ink… I mean I think so anyway..

What helped me start to change the narrative? It was a lot of therapy, discussions, binging Ekhart Tolle and Tony Robbins. But majorly from the outlook from my Allied Health team at the gym. They researched to understand my condition, looked at the statistics and predicted outcomes, and then said, “Okay do you know what? Let’s just try and see what happens with this being a baseline”. It was a tool referred to, not taken as it was my statistics of what my condition was doing to me personally.

That made me feel like my condition was unique to me, and people were genuinely interested in just trying what worked for my body based on how the condition presented personally while using statistics and data to see where I fit and keep an eye on things.

Just found out last week that someone managed to increase their lung capacity from a shockingly low capacity to almost perfect! I have always been told, based on science and research, that increasing my lung function isn’t possible! And because of what I had been told, I sort of just gave up and accepted that my lung function will get worse…. So you better believe that I am running with that positive news, and will get back to working on increasing my lung function, because your girl wants to reach 100 purely for a letter from the King, and my lung function where it stands now won’t get me there! See I got my priorities right! Letters from Royalty trumps all!

In all seriousness, I love nothing more than taking the comparisons and statistics and seeing how I can prove them wrong. Not everyone is lucky to defy the odds. Not everyone is in a space where they can branch out and try to push their condition and see if they are just like the data or like Joe Boggs down the road with the same Condition.

There are so many things that comparisons are good for! They keep us safe, guide us, and show us we aren’t alone, and there are others out there…But they are also suitable for an epic dose of motivation!!

till next week,


1 thought on “Comparison and Statistics”

  1. “The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself” is a quote attributed to former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965). However scholars at the Churchill Centre can not find this quote in any of Winston Churchill’s books, articles, or speeches.

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