Nothing good comes from comparing ourself or our creative work with someone else.
When you start comparing yourself to others, you end up with two outcomes, neither of them are very helpful to you. Either you fall into the insidious trap of believing your creative work is inferior to someone else’s, or worse yet, you start believing that your work is far better.
As a result, you either become so depressed at your own ineptitude that you can’t drag yourself out of bed in order to create anything — or you become so delighted with yourself, that you end up paralyzed by fear knowing that you’ll probably never be able to create something nearly as good again (aka the “sophomore slump”).
Either way you feel like crap so you end up doing nothing.
The worst part is that we do this to ourselves.
We constantly ride this roller coaster of emotions between the elation of being praised and admired for our work, and that feeling of crapification when we think someone is ahead of us in this sadistic little game of competition. This not only shuts down our creative productivity, but it also robs us of any joy we might find in our creating our art.
Let’s face it, no matter what we do or who we are, there will always be someone who is a little further ahead of us, just as there will always be someone else who is not yet where we are now.
We have to realize that we are all at different stages of development and everyone’s path is different. As Joseph Campbell said, “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step-by-step, you know it’s not your path. Your path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”
In order to find it, however, you have to find a way to keep moving forward in the darkness.
Here are two related articles you might enjoy from the site!
“Beating the Green-Eyed Bastard”
(How artists can stop competing and start enjoying their art)
“There are no Artists”
(Maybe we are simply asking all of the wrong questions)
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”