Comparing Notes

“Whatever you put around yourself, you will be the mirror of it. Surround yourself with things you love.”

Marcel Wanders

Comparing your creative work to others is a tricky walnut to crack. On one hand, seeking out and comparing your work to others that are better can help increase your skills and the drive to push yourself to new heights.

However, with the wrong mindset, the other hand can quickly shove you down into deep dark abyss known as ‘self-loathing’ and ‘mental-verbal abuse’.

Let’s follow this thought for a moment. There we lay, on the muddy cave floor, holding ourselves back by spinning stories and convincing ourselves we aren’t good enough and never will be. (That got a little dark Josh…) But this isn’t true. This is just one story out of many we could tell. Negativity, Self-Criticism, Doubt are not the only way to live. Thinking your work sucks and you’ll never get better is just one story you are telling yourself that’s not getting you anywhere you want to go. The key is seeing that when it happens and deciding to tell a new story that enables you and pushes you forward, instead of holding you back.

Mindset has a massive role in everything we do. Thinking it, doesn’t make it reality, but it doesn’t make it possible. Mindset is like water to our bodies. Poor water causes all kinds of problems and parasites. Clean water rejuvenates and makes us capable of being ALIVE.

It’s worth pointing out that everyone feels like their work is no good somewhere along their creative pursuit. We do all this hard work, and then stumble upon someone’s work that is touched by the gods. When this happens, there’s two things we can do:

Deflate and Dismiss

Every excuse in the book isn’t worth stopping. If we come across someone who is better at what we do and feel deflated and down or dismiss them as unnaturally lucky or talented, then our mindset is getting in our way. Reflect, and find ways to change it. Or we can —

Be Inspired and Get Better

Great work is a great motivator. If we come across someone who is better at what we do, then we should feel motivated and driven to get better. Your awesome skills and work should lift my own, and vice versa.

Your skills aren’t worthless. Remember how far you’ve come. If you are an artist, think about someone you know who has never touched a paint brush in their lives. Could they do what you do? Of course not, not without all the time and effort you’ve put in. If you are a musician, could anyone who’s never picked up an instrument (unless you count an imaginary instrument) come close to what you can do? No way. We just get used to our skills and our professionalese and see only how far we have to go, versus how far we’ve come.

Let your progress motivate you to reach for that next level. Celebrate others work and achievements and allow yourself to be inspired to up your skills.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #665

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