As people, especially photographers, we have this innate desire to compare ourselves to others. We see others and only see their success and their positive attributes. We rarely focus on the negative of others when we compare ourselves. When we view ourselves we tend to focus on the negative aspects of us; the failures, short comings and every minute flaw. I know it sound easier than it it is, but stop comparing yourself to others.
From an early age we’ve always compared ourselves to others. Perhaps as a measuring stick as to who or where we wanted to be. Maybe it was for competitive purposes, but we’ve always had this desire to compare ourselves with others and it’s not fair to ourselves to do that.
As photographers how many of us have compared our photography work to another’s? How many times have you seen a photograph and ask yourself, “Why can’t my photos look like that?” or tell yourself you’ll never be as successful as so and so. Maybe you have amazing photos and only 500 followers on Instagram while some other photographer who just signed up already 20,000 followers and you sit there looking to see what makes their profile and photos better than yours. Either way it’s detrimental to your growth not only as a photographer, but as a person.
As an example someone can see Chase Jarvis and all his success with his photography business and compare themselves to him, not realizing that you two have had two totally different paths in life. We think that we’re all on the same path and we sit here wondering why we can’t be as good as this person or that person. We focus on their success. We focus on all the amazing work they do and how it just seems money and success come to them easily while you sit here struggling to rub two nickels together. This goes for any photographer or person we find ourselves comparing us to. We don’t know their journey or all the setbacks and failures they’ve had to endure to be where they are. We only see the positive they do and of who they are.
While we see the positive and the success in others, we’re more negative towards ourselves. We amplify every failure. Every flaw we may or may not have. We sit there and listen to that little voice in our head telling us we’re not good enough or we’ll never be as successful as that person. We don’t take the time to self reflect in how far we’ve come on our journey. We don’t see the progress, we only focus on what could be or the what ifs. We don’t realize how awesome we truly are and how much ass we’ve kicked in life because we’re too busy seeing what others are doing.
When you stop comparing yourself to others, you stop holding yourself back from growing. You free yourself from all these unfair and imbalanced comparisons your negative thinking mind feeds you. Comparing yourself to others and their work just opens the flood gates for negatively to flow through.
We need to understand that our journey in life is our own. It’s not like anyone else’s and we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Some people find success early and that’s great for them. Focus on you and you alone. Find what makes you happy and chase that. Don’t think your journey in life is the same as someone else because it’s not.
Don’t get discouraged either with where you are. You’re where you’re suppose to be in that moment. That doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck there forever, it just means for that blip on time’s radar you’re meant to be here. Sure we all wish we were somewhere else, more successful, wealthier, happier etc. but we can’t reach our goals without a little adversity. Everyone at some point in time fails along the way. Failure is part of the process. That doesn’t mean we just quit or give up. Every failure is a lesson. Some people have this amazing way of not learning that lesson repeatedly. Just don’t be one of them. Learn from it and persevere.
Don’t dwell on the fact that your photos don’t look like this persons. Or who cares if Freddy the Famous photographer has 10,000 followers and you only have 200. Everyone is on a different stage in their life than you are and when you fully understand that you can find the path to who you want to be. Constantly comparing yourself is only going to hold you back and it’s going to take you that much longer to get to where the universe wants you to be.
So stop comparing yourself to others and enjoy your journey in life. Enjoy where you are in your photography and everything will look so much better when you stop trying to see where you stack up against others.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash