‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ – Theodore Roosevelt
SCA is home to a hell of a lot of talent. I love that about the school, you never need to look far to feel inspired. It’s seriously motivating and keeps you trying time and time again to churn out your best work to date, to stay at the top of your game.
But in an environment where everyone is also doing this, and where you are constantly in competition with each other, this can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. It’s easy to fall into a comparison trap over work, briefs or just pure talent.
And beyond SCA, society seems rigged to make us feel bad about ourselves. Just head to your social media to find an endless feed of fantasy lives. No matter where you are in life, there is always someone who looks like they are more successful, having more fun, happier. And so the list goes on…
This happens to all of us. But we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Otherwise, you’ll never be truly happy. The only person that you should compare yourself to is the person that you were the day before.
I have scoured the internet (so you dont have to!) for tips on how to stop this comparison cycle. Here are a few of my favourites, some I’m already practicing, some are new habits I’ll take on board…
Something that is encouraged at SCA, keeping a gratitude journal. It’s almost impossible to experience these negative emotions when you take time to be thankful for what you already have.
If you want to stop comparing yourself to others, take notice of your triggers and make a note to see if there is a pattern. Is it a specific person or social media account? What are the qualities you are comparing and falling short on? Use these observations to learn about yourself and resolve to get better at catching yourself in the future.
Try to use comparison for motivation
Instead of feeling bad about someone else’s success, use this energy as motivation. What are the traits or skills behind their success? And how could you improve on these qualities?
Seek out successful people and learn from them in other ways too. Read about how top creatives got their start and what they did to build their enviable body of work – if that’s your goal. Follow these figures on Twitter, read articles about them, attend a speech they may be giving and listen when they’re a guest on a podcast. View their success as a road map that you could follow.
Evaluate your own performance—not others.
It’s important to keep this in mind. At risk of sounding clichéd and cheesy, the only person you should compare yourself to is the you of yesterday. Whenever you start comparing yourself to others, take the focus off the other person and put it back on yourself. Think about how you’ve made progress—regardless of what anyone around you is doing.
Remember your vision.
(Another thing that is drilled into us at SCA!) Always have a clear vision of who and where you want to be. Write it, draw it, stick it above your desk. Take your eyes off your current shortcomings, and set your sights on that goal. And keep working towards it, one step and one day at a time.