I don't know about y'all but I have this bad habit of comparing myself to other creatives. I've been doing this for as long as I can remember. In an attempt to help myself and anyone else who may be struggling in this area, I compiled a list of 5 ways we can try to combat creative comparison.
This is a big one and it will definitely take some evaluation on your part. You'll have to get real with yourself and keep track of what you are doing whenever the comparison starts to creep in. I know that for me, personally, scrolling through social media before I sit down to create a new design is a big trigger. I will literally question everything I try to create because in the back of my mind I'll be thinking things like — "Well, this doesn't look as good as so-and-so's piece," or "If only I could make this design look more like his/her design." This is dangerous territory, guys. Questioning your work often leads to questioning your worth.
One lie that seems to harass my mind the most is "It's already been done so why should I even bother doing it too?" What kind of twisted thinking is that? Who the hell cares if someone else has done the same thing you want to do. You haven't done it yet. Do you know how many paintings of flowers there are in the world? No? Well, neither do I, but I'm assuming there are tons. You want to know the cool part? They are all unique because each piece was painted by different hands, attached to different bodies, being controlled by different minds that have gone through different experiences in this life. There's not only room for every single creative, but there's a need for every single creative. Painters, writers, sculptors, musicians, etc. YOU have something to offer the world that is unique. Don't you dare believe otherwise.
I actually presented an entire speech about this very topic in college. You guys, this is such a crucial part of conquering comparison. If you aren't careful you can spend too much precious time scrolling aimlessly through social media. Being immersed in the highlight reels of other peoples lives for long periods of time can really do a number on your mindset. I've dealt with this firsthand and I'm constantly trying to remind myself to be more intentional when I do use these kinds of apps. If you find yourself struggling with this, I would suggest downloading a time management app that will track your social media usage and give you the option to set up limits. Social media is a fantastic tool but too much can have a negative impact.
I fully believe that gratitude can cure a great deal of things. There's a quote from Brené Brown I found late last year and it really stuck with me since — "We're a nation hungry for more joy because we're starving from a lack of gratitude." Ouch. Talk about conviction but it's the truth! Now, bringing it back to creativity — if we take the time to step back and see where we are now compared to where we started out, we would all realize that we're doing just fine. I like to keep some of my older designs around to look at whenever I start to compare my work to others. I don't know everything there is to know about graphic design but I sure as hell create better designs now than when I first started out. Just remember that developing a skill doesn't happen overnight. As long as you're taking steps forward, you're right where you need to be.
When it comes down to it being able to express yourself creatively should really bring you joy. You should be having fun no matter what your choice of creative expression is. I'm not talking about giving up hard work (because that's important too) but if you're getting so wrapped up in trying to keep up with what everyone around you is doing and you aren't having fun with your talent anymore, it's time to pump the breaks. We all start out doing what we love because it's something we genuinely enjoy. It's something that fires us up. So, if you ever get to a place where you feel like that sense of passion has been replaced with a sense of competitiveness, I would advice you to go back to your "why" — why you started down this road in the first place and what you hope to achieve by sticking with it.
Okay, I know that was a pretty lengthy read but I had a lot to say. I hope this helps at least one person who is struggling with comparison. You don't even have to be a creative person to adopt these strategies because they can really be applied to anything!