Comparison Kills Creativity

Sketch of the words, "Comparison Kills Creativity"

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We’ve all been there. You start a project and are happily working on it. You imagine how this drawing will look in your living room, or how this little dress will look on your daughter. Your mind is filled with the possibilities that creativity is fueled by and for a beautiful moment, you are flying.

But then it happens. You read a blog or a book or see a friend’s post on Facebook. You lose an afternoon to Pinterest. Your friend enthusiastically tells you about her project. And you begin to deflate. You look at your project with new eyes and realize it is really pathetic. You don’t know why you’re even trying. I mean, compared to what’s out there already, your offering is rather sad. The seams are not straight on the little dress you’re learning to sew. You’re drawing looks like it should rather live in a journal locked up somewhere, not displayed for everyone to see. And little by little, you curl into yourself and think, “Why am I wasting my time?”

And then that beautiful creative energy stops.

Comparison kills creativity.

Every single time.

I am not saying you cannot learn from others. This world has so much to teach us. I am not saying to create in a bubble and never look out. But over and over I’ve found this to be true in my life, that comparison completely robs me of my creative joy. I’ve been stopped dead in my tracks right in the middle of a project. I’ve abandoned dreams before they even had time to sprout.

But what is so sad is when we stop creating from within ourselves, from within our own lives and experiences, a voice is lost. I love watching little children draw with the abandon and preciseness they bring to their artwork. It breaks my heart when they decide their creations aren’t good enough.

Whatever it is you do that is creative (and we all have creative outlets and creativity within us, even if it is hidden for the moment!), whatever it is, don’t compare it with another’s gifts and talents. Someone will always be better than you. So what? You need to make things. You need to bring your voice of beauty and creativity into the world. Let’s stop comparing ourselves and our work to others and just do the thing.

(p.s. If you need some encouragement to get your creativity flowing, check out my post on 5 Ways to Spark Your Creativity.)

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