Comparison, the thief of joy…..

In a fit of enthusiasm on a really rainy day, I decided to look up some other land artists to see what they’re up to.   

The idea was to get inspired, and on one level I am (there’s some really, really inspiring work on those sites), but underlying that I’ve fallen into the comparison trap.  

Oh bother and dammit – their work is WAY better than mine. WAY, WAAAAAAY better.  WA…. (you get the idea).

The teacher in me watched it happen and went ‘Oh yes, after a burst of creative enthusiasm, this is to be expected.’  It’s something I see time and time again when I work with people on creativity.  You have a really productive few weeks or days, you feel on top of the world, and then one of your inner critics chimes in with their opinion.  ‘You’re not as good as the others’ is one of my loudest inner critics.  She really pees me off, if I’m honest.

My inner teacher, however, the one who cheer-leads other artists and coaxes creativity out of other people, is a handy person to have around at times like these.  

Here’s what she says:-

1) There is ALWAYS going to be somebody better than you.  If you make it a reason not to create, you won’t ever make anything.

2) If you never make anything, you’ll never get any better at what you do.

3) The things you create, what you have to say, are unique to you.  Comparing them is pretty pointless as nobody else is able to say exactly what you have to say, in exactly the way you say it.  

4) The world NEEDS everyone to say what they have to say.  It’s super important that your voice sings out to the world through your creations.  

5) All those artists probably feel pretty much the same as you do and would love to see your work and would learn something from the way YOU do things.   

6) Much like there is always somebody better than you, there is also always somebody who hasn’t reached the level you have – even if they’re only on land art for kids 🙂

7) Instead of going ‘Holy crap, Danmala has over 5000 likes and I’m not up to 100 yet’ say to yourself ‘here is somebody doing something similar to me, and she has over 5000 likes, which means I can achieve this, too!’.

Lastly, teacher Jani would say

Just make the flipping art, already!


Comparison, the thief of joy….. — 3 Comments

  1. This is brilliant Jani, am tempted to print off your bullet points and stick them somewhere really obvious when this monster all too frequently attacks. Thank you 🙂

  2. Loved this … inspiring – and the link to the land art site – I am new to all this and didn’t realise what I was doing had a name 🙂 sounds so naive but I am so enjoying discoveries of this kind – am inspired to explore more! Thank you Jani x