I have often struggled with comparing myself to other musicians and artists. It’s always silly in hindsight but seeing others bands and artists with higher streams and more people at their shows, it can push me into moments of frustration.
In an ideal world, we would follow the age-old advice of not comparing ourselves to others. We would get on with our work and our lives content with every asset of our personal being. But sadly life tends to have other plans.
We compare and get frustrated, we scream at ourselves in ways we would never try on anyone else (“why aren’t you working? why aren’t you further along by now?”). This can lead to even more self-hatred and procrastination which doesn’t help the matter at all.
What is there to do? Competition is important but the ‘competition’ itself can become overwhelming. So perhaps then it is the one you square up against that should change.
I think you should become your own worst enemy. You should make your past self the one in which you compete against.
Enemies come and go and the only person that stays with you your whole life is you, for better or worse. By simply competing against who you were in your past, you can only improve.
You know your past self better than anyone in the world, you know where they are strongest, where they are weakest. In turn, you know where you need to be in the present to beat them, to then improve yourself.
By setting goals that are achievable (the bloody age-old SMART Targets) you can rid yourself of any feelings of self doubt via unproductivity. Similarly, by working against yourself, you can whitel down what work is most meaningful to you and devot yourself to that.
Yourself is the only person you need to worry about when creating art. Don’t make anyone else an enemy.