Comparison suuuucks. It’s a killer. A ruiner. A destroyer of worlds. Or as the great Pat Benatar sang so eloquently,
“You’re a heartbreaker. Dream maker, a love taker. Don’t you mess around with me.”
I know she wasn’t singing about Comparison, but it kinda fits. So I’m gonna use it.
Comparison will drive you crazy. It will cause you to have anxiety, give you ulcers and make you Sleepless In Seattle.
The trap though is, as Creatives, it’s so difficult to not have Comparison issues. You’ll try so hard to make your Art like ‘Theirs’, because you like the way they did it.
We see a great performance and think we’ll never be that good. We hear a great song and think we could never write one like that. We see a great painting/photograph/book of poetry/crocheted blanket or what have you, and we think, “I’ll never be able to do it like them.”
And you know what? We’re right.
We will never be able to do it “like them“. Because we are not them.
I am so guilty of Comparison. I Act, but I’ll never perform a scene like James Cagney, James Dean or Edward James Olmos. (I just noticed they all have James in their names. That’s weird.) But I don’t have to act like them, because I’m not them. I’m Sol. I am an Actor that will do it like me. You will do it like you.
I want to write, but I’ll never write a sentence like Jack Kerouac. As much as that kills me, it’s okay. Because I need to realize that I don’t need to write like him. I need to write like me. Every word, every phrase, every poem and draft. You will write like you.
Comparison will destroy your ambition and keep you from creating the great works that are yours. It will make you take a step back and see your work as not good enough, because it’s not like them.
But your life will get a lot easier, and your work will get a lot better, when you realize one simple thing. You are not them. You are you. Your work is yours and yours alone. That’s what makes it great.
Don’t try to be the next Francis Ford Coppola, Miles Davis, Ernest Hemingway or Isabel Allende. Be You.
Don’t waste any more time comparing yourself, your work, your art to them.
Make stuff. Your stuff. I can’t wait to see it.
“Do you Boo-Boo!” – Kevin Hart