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Hey guys, welcome back to Thriving Scribes TV. I’m Brit Poe and today I’m going to be talking about the dark side of comparison as an author.
Okay guys, so before I get into the meat of this video, I want to tell you a little story. When I was in sixth grade, I was that girl with the frizzy, unruly, curly hair who wasn’t really into girly clothes. Honestly, I wore my Dad’s sweatshirt to school every day. It was like my favorite thing and I literally wore that in blue jeans and sneakers every single day. Now, I grew up in a military family and so when it came time to move and I went to my new school there, I was around a ton of people that I didn’t know. And these girls to me, they were so pretty and they were so different from me and what I was used to doing to myself. It was like a stark change to the standards there and I spent so much time comparing myself to these other girls and honestly I just wasted a lot of time in from that point all the way through middle school and early high school, just battling comparison.
Eventually it got better and I was able to accept myself for who I was and what made me unique and just accept myself more, but I did waste so many years in the comparison trap. And I know that there’s this thing going on that kind of encourages comparison as a way to make life a game. There’s this thought pattern that you can use comparison as fuel to win life, I guess. And I don’t really like that viewpoint of comparison. I don’t think that comparison is all that healthy for many reasons and so today I wanted to talk about the dark side of comparison and how that relates to you as an author and what the effects of that can be.
Dark Side Number 1 : Unrealistic Expectations
I think we are all pretty familiar with this, especially when it comes to social media. Social media has a way of glamorizing different aspects of not just authorship or being a writer, but just life in general and like I mentioned a moment ago, how it kind of makes life feel like it’s this sort of race and how success is this race to the finish line and I don’t like that idea.
To me, this encourages setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations of life, success, and authorship in general. It’s like you’re automatically setting yourself up for failure because you’re either trying so hard to keep up with what you’re seeing other people doing or you end up just throwing your hands up and giving up altogether. And neither of those are healthy options.
Dark Side Number 2 : Unfair Comparisons
So while I think that everybody at one point or another compares their life or where they’re at in their author’s journey to somebody else’s success, and this is not always being fair to yourself because you can’t compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle. It’s completely unfair. The reality is everybody starts at the beginning and they learn and they grow and they flop sometimes and they get back up and they keep on pushing towards their goals. When you compare yourself to somebody who’s been around the block a few times, you haven’t lived their experiences, you haven’t learned their mistakes. Therefore it’s an unhealthy and an unfair comparison.
Dark Side Number 3 : Loss Of Focus And Priorities
I can tell you from firsthand experience that constant comparison as as an author can make you forget why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. Why did you even want to do this? You can end up pushing everything else to the side, family, your own self care, your health, and begin focusing all of your effort on being as good as this person that you’re comparing yourself to. All you’re doing is running in a big circle and going nowhere fast.
Dark Side Number 4 : The False Sense Of Success
This is a big one because what I see commonly is that people will start comparing themselves to another person and in that aspect they start to warp their own idea of what success looks like. Because instead of working towards what they originally wanted and what they actually want for themselves, they’re working towards the same thing this other person is working towards by comparing themselves to their journey.
Your vision of success may not be what another writer’s vision of success is, and so when you compare your journey to their journey and what they’re doing with what your doing and try to do what they’re doing, you’re not working towards your version of success. You’re working towards theirs.
This is where I encourage you to really define what your vision of success is and then you can start planning out the steps from big picture down to what you need to do next. That way that you have a roadmap in front of you and you’re not following footsteps of somebody who may not even be working towards the same goal that you are.
Dark Side Number 5 : The Desire To Quit
This is the worst. In extreme cases, when comparison as an author gets the best of you, you’ll end up not wanting to do anything at all any more because you feel less than or a lacking. You start to tell yourself, “I’ll never be good enough, so why the heck am I even trying? I’m not as good as a writer as this person. I’m never going to be published. I’ll never have enough readers as this other author does what? What am I even doing here?”
The sad truth to this is that comparison stops so many potentially awesome, amazing, impactive writers from pursuing their dreams, from publishing their books, and from having people read their work. That is not something I want for you!
So if comparison is something that you struggle with yourself and you need some ideas or you need to know how you can overcome that for yourself, then join me next Monday. We’re going to be talking about some ways and sharing some tips which can help you overcome comparison and start believing in yourself again. But for now, I’d love to know in the comments which dark side of comparison you’ve faced yourself in your own author’s journey and what you’ve done to overcome it. As always, I’m rooting for you. Bye.