Posts tagged Comparison
TSLS 0034 - The "Mina Schwartz" effect (or, how to stop comparison from destroying your writing career.)

Frankly, I’m quite sick of women like Mina Schwartz.

She (or, insert other highly enlightened author/speaker/guru whose blog you follow here) represents something unintentionally daunting for the everyday writer: the idea that if you're not at her level of success, you're not a success.

She represents the plague of comparison that is sweeping across the nation due to the idea of “insta-success” that's being shoved down our throats at every turn.

I’m sick of writers coming to me believing that success is something they can buy. As if just by finding the right professional photographer or attending the right seminar, everything will fall into place, and they'll become successful by default. "That's what Mina Schwartz is doing," they say, "so it must be how I should do it".

Mina (and people like her) are probably the reason you're feeling so helpless about your writing career right now, and why, when the going gets tough, your first instinct is to throw in the towel.

You might have just realised that the dream they sold you isn’t exactly as advertised, so now you want to take it back to the store.

Like the time you published your first blog post? It was meant to go viral, right? Well, it didn’t - and now you’re all confused, thinking to yourself: “This was not how it was supposed to work. This is not how I was supposed to feel.”

@@The idea that you need to become “big” overnight is exactly what’s keeping you small.@@

Just because Mina Schwartz released 3 blog posts in the last hour complete with worksheets and an audiobook, doesn't mean that you should get all unmotivated, and not write the one or two blog posts you intended to write today.

And if it only reaches 15 people? Don't let that make you feel like a failure, or damage your ego. No one is judging you, comparing you, or assessing your achievements alongside Mina Schwartz, except you.

@@Your dream is something you have to grow into.@@

I know they say you should “fake it 'til you make it”, but that doesn’t mean wiping yourself out trying to keep up with your idols, getting into debt or losing your own sense of identity in the process.

You’re forgetting that they’ve been where you are. They’ve experienced their fair share of the failure and self-doubt that you’re experiencing right now. But they didn’t try to cheat, take the easy road, or sacrifice their authenticity. They fought hard to be the people you admire so much today.

You need to be at peace with the fact that you are where you are. That might mean that there are lessons still to be learned, or that you just haven’t figured out what your authentic rhythm is. Perhaps because you haven’t been listening.

What would make you happy to create today, regardless of what everyone else in the world is doing? Do this every day and share it with the world. That's all it takes for you to leave comparison behind, and to start enjoying the process again.

Do you have a story about comparison that you can share with me (without using names)? I'd love to hear it over on Facebook.

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TSLS 0031 - They are cool, but so are you. (A spiritual solution to comparison, insecurity, and doubting your life path)

Have you ever felt pressured to change after seeing someone who seems cooler than you?

Hip. On trend. Hashtag popular.

Last week you were secure in yourself and in what you wanted to do, rocking with your #wholewriter...today, you're confused because what this other person is doing looks so cool that now you can't even remember what you wanted or who you were before.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer, they say, but I saw this person doing X so now I want to do that!”

You're not truly interested in this new passion or hobby, but you've seen someone else doing well with it, so now you're suddenly convinced that this is the way.

It’s all about seeking the easier option, the faster option, the path that’s already been travelled these days. The one that seems simple because there's a stick to measure ourselves against.

Taking influence from someone else is so much easier and faster than developing your own purpose, mission and goals, and devoting ourselves to them, isn't it?

How quickly we discard our talents for fear that it won’t work out, or that it’s not cool enough.

Your path, your identity and your image of yourself will always be growing and expanding, and it WILL be swayed and influenced by different things as you continue to live your life.

But sometimes, when you get lit up by someone else’s fire, you subconsciously forget your own.

We're pulled around and influenced by new things everyday - some good, some bad, some completely wrong for us - when all The Universe wants is to do is to pull us back and scream:

You don’t need to change yourself, no matter how shiny other people appear, or how cool the next big thing appears to be.

The Universe has its own unique plans for you.

Best believe it.

So take a deep breath, and trust that inner voice that knows exactly what would be best for you. And whenever you feel fear trying to take you off your path in the form of someone else's new product or video or latest instagram pic, you need to say to yourself:

“Wow, this is amazing, just like my future self/work/mission is going to be”.

Admire others, and be influenced by others, but don’t forget who you are.

No one on this earth is so amazing that you should overwrite yourself trying to become them.

Yes they are cool, and so are you.

Yes they’ve found their way, and so will you.

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TSLS 0030 - The other human beings (or, why you should ignore everybody and write what you were meant to write)

Typically, writing comes easily to me... 

It's just a streaming set of thoughts that flow from my mind through my forearms and wrists, and into this weird computerised machine that collects my thoughts and makes them readable for other human beings to enjoy. It's a simple process, a random and often mystical one.

All of that comes to a halt, however, when I think about the "other human beings". 

All the people in my life that have ever read something of mine and criticised. The people who love to give "helpful suggestions" on what you should have done, or could have done better. The people who always have something to say.

As soon as I do that, the words get stunted and stuck. It's like they're not coming from me anymore, they start coming from my insecurities and desire to please. 

But what I've learnt from past experience is that you can't force yourself into conformity or ban yourself from creating what your #wholewriter really wants to create, because you're just doing yourself a massive disservice.

Writing for others only starts a downward spiral that drags everything courageous and brilliant about you to its depths. And before you know it, you’ll have settled into a boring, mediocre writing life based on all the things everyone else wanted from you.

@@If you create something to please others and succeed, it won't feel like success to you.@@

Worst of all, you lose the ones that would have loved it in your original voice, the way you crafted it in the first place. 

Oh, because didn't you know? There will be some absolutely perfect people out there; people who your words will be a complete revelation to. Because The Universe didn't create you in a vaccuum, unrelatable to absolutely no one else out there on the planet. No, you have a tribe - a big one. And what you have to say is in your mind for a reason. You just have to keep out putting your authentic voice and style out there, and shooing all the "other human beings" away with a broom, until you find them.

It's your responsibility to create. It's a reader's responsibility to like it or dislike it. But it's never your responsibility to tailor what you create to anyone else's likes or dislikes.

Never compromise your creativity for people who can go back to their own lives if the opinions they give you don't work out. There's no risk for them, and everything at risk for you. 

So stop thinking about the other human beings, and focus on what's in your heart.

It'll find the right "other human beings" in the end.

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TSLS 0023 - What your soul is telling you when you get side-tracked by other people's successes

I've never in the history of my life, ever, wanted to climb a mountain.

That is, until I saw a bold, brave, beautiful woman rockin' it in a fitness magazine the other day. I stared mouth agape at the picture of her, completely confident and smiling into my soul, and suddenly I heard a voice inside myself whisper: "I need to climb a mountain."

Now, that's ridiculous, isn't it? Climbing a mountain wouldn't make me any happier, more beautiful, or confident (at least, I don't think it would). It certainly wouldn't allow be to BE that beautiful confident woman within the pages of this glossy magazine. So why? What was this compulsion to be someone I'm not and where did it come from?

If you're a Type-A person like I am, you will know this feeling.

You're chugging along nicely with your own ideas and goals, when suddenly a wild new concept appears that completely shakes your world upside down. And now all you can think about is that new concept, your ideas be damned. 

Sometimes it's because the new idea seems so much better than you feel yours could ever be. 

Sometimes it's because the new idea ignites your insecurities and makes you want to take the easy way out of the guilt you feel for not yet completing your own ideas and goals. 

Other times, it's because the person seems so confident and sure of themselves and the new idea, that you start to think it would be the coolest, most impressive and easiest thing for you to do, too.

But when this happens, you need to take a good hard look at what exactly it is you're jealous of. 99.9% of the time, it's not the actual "thing". It's the confidence surrounding the person and their thing. 

You don't necessarily want to do the "thing", but you want to feel the feeling. 

You admire the traits that have lead them into their destinies and into their highest selves and you know that if you can find that yourself, you know all the amazing things it could do for you. All the amazing ways finding it within yourself as well could transform your life.

Another example of this is when I see professional dancers.

I get instantly jealous and start thinking I want to become a professional dancer. When in reality, I’d have no passion to do that full time, I'd probably suck at it, and it isn't my calling. But I'm jealous because what they do looks so fun, I can see how hard they’ve worked at it, and I can see their best selves shining through their moves. I’ve got to stop that, and so have you.

Don’t worry about what other people are doing and focus on cultivating YOUR thing to provide the happiness you want. That kind of happiness won't come from you putting your own destiny off by looking for an alternative or easier option that totally isn't suited to you. Alright?

You have your own thing. Go do it.

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TSLS 0014 - You are not "just" a writer, my friend.

All my life I’ve known exactly who I am. I’ve always been secure in my creativity. 

Most of the time I’ve been content with this lot in life and haven’t wanted for anything else.

But there have been a few times where new people have come into my life and made me feel like what I was doing with my life wasn’t enough. In those times I’d go from being happy and safe in my purpose, to thinking, “Is what I do too small, too unworthy - and just not enough?

I’d think: “Why is my purpose so lame and misunderstood?

“Why couldn’t The Universe have blessed me with one of those skills that people instantly cheer on, love and adore in life, one that doesn’t take weeks of gruelling, thankless work to be impressive?”

Here’s the funny thing, though. Do you know what I would do to get myself out of those funks? 

I’d write.

Because that’s my thing. 

That’s my most comfortable, natural way of connecting with the world and inspiring others, whether I particularly love it or not. 

Writing is a specially engineered brand of lunacy, but it’s also a destiny, and that’s why we keep going. It’s a compulsion, and I personally had to stop pretending I had any say in the matter.

This post is for anyone in fact whose work may not always produce benefits that others cannot measure, like education, entertainment or inspiration. Anyone who has felt that pit of despair as I used to have as well where you wished things were different.

It’s to all the people who aren’t Mina Schwartz: travelling the world being flown over for speaking gigs and who don’t have the picture perfect Instagram life yet.

I want to tell you why that’s perfectly okay, and why it doesn’t take a single thing away from who you are or what you give to the world.

1. To the right person, you have the exact right gift.

It’s not for everyone, and not everyone will understand, but the exact right people will, and they will love what I offer with all their heart. Above all else.

Are you an author in need of inspiration? Right here, right here. If you’re not, then be on your way - because I don’t need you and you don’t need me. And that’s fine. But that also means that your opinions or thoughts on my business really don’t matter.

2. You are more important to the world than you think.

Education, inspiration and entertainment are not always things that can measured. There’s no global standard or level you have to hit to prove you’ve adequately impacted someone’s life. It’s often an invisible achievement unless a person wants to tell you directly but there’s no denying that we desperately need these things like we need air or water.

They keep the world interesting to a consumer of your works. They teach a different perspective. They let an observer live in someone else’s shoes for a while at a time where maybe, they desperately want to escape their own. It gives them room to breathe again. Who can put a price or a label on that? Writers fulfil those basic human, spiritual needs - needs that will always be there, needs that will never go out of fashion.

3. No matter how loudly someone brags about their life’s purpose, they wish for more bells and whistles secretly sometimes, too.

It’s human nature to be curious and envious of what other people have, because in our lifetime we all know we won’t be able to do IT ALL.

For every decision we make, we are leaving three or four behind; so take no notice of the person who seems to be all-confident and all-powerful in their confidence, acting like they know for sure they’ve made the right decision. They go home and envy others just the same. It’s not just you feeling this way, it’s all of us.

Don’t worry if their purpose / career / achievements seems bigger or better than yours. You don’t know what they’ve done to get there. You don’t know what it is costing them to maintain their status. You don’t know if you would like the situations they had to survive to lead the lifestyle they lead now.

Your purpose is yours because you are just the person to absolutely rock it. Your skills, interests, passions, were all created for this reason, and this reason alone.

So please don’t feel bad about this purpose, or your gift. Let the wrong people laugh and wonder how you’ll ever make a living or a life doing what you do.

Ignore them and just give what the world gave you to give.

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