Years ago, when I was getting my vocal coach certification, I remember my teacher saying these powerful words, “Comparison kills creativity”. She was referring to how many students have a tendency to compare themselves to professionals or even their peers and wind up feeling like they don’t measure up or don’t have what it takes. Or they try to exactly copy someone else’s style or sound, never discovering or embracing their own uniqueness, their own way of interpreting the music.
I see the exact same thing in my speaking clients and even notice myself tripping over this mental trickster from time to time. We’re wired for it from an early age.
At first, the purpose of comparison is benign. It’s a means of differentiating one thing from another…This circle is big. That circle is small. This soup is hot. That soup is cold. We need to make comparisons to understand the differences between things, to make observations and distinctions.
The problem begins when we place a value on one thing over another…Longer hair is prettier than shorter hair. Thinner is more attractive than thicker. Happy is more acceptable than sad.
That’s when we start feeling like what we are, how we do things, what we bring to the table is never quite good enough, because there is always someone or something else out there to compare ourselves to that we’ve decided is somehow “better” than us…”That speaker is more engaging than me”. “That speaker has better presentation skills than me”. “I’m not as funny as her”. “She’s more successful at selling from the stage than me”. And on and on ad nauseam!
I think we’ve all felt “not good enough” at some point in our lives, but for heaven’s sake, give yourself a break!
You are the only you on the entire planet – in the entire universe – as unique as a snowflake! No one else has the exact same perspective as you, the exact way of communicating as you, the exact way of making a difference as you.
Your task and mine is to fully embrace and express the unique gifts, talents and expertise we bring to the world to fulfill our human potential and make the difference each of us is on this earth to make. To do that, we must stop comparing and start embracing our unique difference.