Day 7 // The Dark Side of Comparison & Allowing Yourself To Evolve

by | Jan 10, 2023 | The Creative Experiment

Ahhh comparison, the thief of joy! In this video I’m discussing how I’ve been impacted by consuming someone else’s content.

I explore the themes of comparison and evolution in creative work and discuss how observing and learning from others can be helpful but also how comparing one’s own work to others can be detrimental.

Ultimately, this video is about the importance of embracing imperfection and trusting your own creative journey.

Video Transcript

And some reason I feel a bit more nervous about today’s video than I’ve felt about any videos that I’ve actually created before. And on one hand, I wonder if this is because I’ve come with a bit of an agenda today, as in a topic that I want to talk about. But also this might be because this is now public, this video.

So I know people are watching. I know people are actually leaving comments and things like that. So it’s definitely influencing how I show up today. But we’ll just get and see how it goes. As always, it’s probably could actually be more of a lesson in embracing imperfection than maybe previous ones have been. Anyway, what I want to talk about today is sort of two themes really, and probably interlinked.

The first is comparison and the second is evolution, essentially. And I don’t mean evolution in terms of how monkey became Man. I mean evolution in terms of a creative evolution. And I want to start with comparison because like I said, I’ve started posting these videos publicly now, so I am aware of the response that they are getting. What actually happened yesterday is I was on YouTube managing the comments for this and then I ended up just kind of clicking through and watching some of the videos by the creators.

And I watched a video by a woman called Vanessa Lao, who is a very successful creator entrepreneur. And I was watching one of her videos and watching how she edits them or how somebody that edits and for her on her team to make them more engaging. She has little inserts of different clips. She obviously cuts out the gaps in the pauses and the aims, like most people do, such as this here.

And generally it was snappy, it was engaging to watch. And I finally found myself, even though she was just talking, able to watch the video with more ease. And suddenly in my head I was like, Oh my God, should I be doing this? Like, the reason I don’t edit is really, to be completely honest, because it’s the process of editing apps resistance for me.

Because in the past I’ve tried to do YouTube channel before with videos, etc.. And what started out as this simple concept of I’m just going to create some videos on YouTube around a certain topic suddenly blew, grew into this whole thing whereby I would be adding like additional effects, inserting those little cartoons. I didn’t text over the screen and it became a whole job in itself.

Now I am not passionate about editing. I love filming. I find this very easy to do, but when it comes to the editing process, I’m entirely capable. My university degree was in computer animation and part of that was learning my familiarizing myself around editing software. And so it became into that. It just grew into this big thing. So I’ve intentionally been editing these to decrease the resistance that I have to actually filming them.

But this comparison happened when I saw her videos and suddenly felt a pressure to change. I suddenly felt like my work wasn’t good enough anymore. And I just think it’s something that we really need to keep an eye on because when we observe other people’s work, it’s okay to admire their work. It’s okay to learn from it and think, Do you know what?

I actually really enjoy the way that they’ve done that thing. And we’re going to apply that technique, that approach, that whatever it is to my style, I’m going to take the fact that they have edited it in a certain way or maybe the lighting set up in a certain way, or maybe if your reading something, you might think, Oh, you know what, I love the way that they’ve structured this text.

I love the way that they’ve approached this topic. I’m going to take that lesson and apply it to my own work. That’s okay. I think that’s how we grow and we learn and we get to, like I’ve mentioned in a previous video, a little peek into someone else’s perspective and we get to borrow the things from that and apply it to our own expression.

That is totally fine, and I think we should be honouring that. But I don’t think we should be doing is holding up our work. And someone else’s work is a completely different phase in their journey, in their life, in whatever, and compare them in a sense of, okay, which is better? Does their work existing? Devalue my work, which is I think what happened when I was watching Vanessa’s videos yesterday, as I was watching her.

So I think, oh my God, this just puts man to shame. Like, what’s the point? Like, why am I doing this when that’s the quality I could be creating? But I think that’s the dark side of comparison, and I think that’s what we need to be really careful where we are consuming content from other people about the internal dialog that’s going on and how we let that dialog influence what we do next.

So I just wanted to speak on comparison, but as a next kind of step in this kind of journey or this thought process is that I’m having is when I was considering this work, I thought, well, hold on. The whole premise of it was that it was unplanned, unscripted and edited. If I change it, does that then suddenly invalidate all the work that I’ve done so far because I’ve changed course.

And again, this is another thing I think can really creep up on us is that because you set a precedent, because you set out with a working theory or format and we’ve maybe made a bold statement about, I’m doing this thing, this is what it’s going to be. We can sometimes lock ourselves into a certain idea of how something is going to turn out, how something is going to be, which then prevents us from letting it naturally evolve into the best expression of itself or the purest expression of itself, or however you want to think of that by pre determining the at the outset of this is what this thing is going to be.

So in this case, these videos are always going to be unplanned and censored or edited, whatever. I don’t know. I might then be restricting myself in terms of the growth of this format. And when I say growth, I don’t mean in terms of like audience growth or whatever, I mean creative growth, because actually maybe, maybe one day I’ll find that, yeah, I’m still going to turn up unscripted.

I’m still going to shoot pretty much as is in the moment. But I might find that actually what this wants to be settles into something. Maybe I find that, you know what, I’m always talking about this topic. So I really now want to hone in to be like, this isn’t just some, you know, big open container container or what I find of a big open expression.

But actually it’s going to be a little bit more intentional. I’m going to talk about these specific things because it’s a topic that keeps recurring within me. And so that’s something that I want to focus on in order to streamline and refine my own expression. That’s allowed to happen. So I just want to offer that to you because I think sometimes at the outset when we’re thinking about putting stuff out there, something that can sometimes stoppers is the idea that if once we begin and we’ve set a precedent is that we then have to maintain that consistently and we are not allowed to veer off course.

And I think a lot of the time that stops us from posting the first thing, publishing the first thing, doing the first thing. Like even if it’s, you know, I want to start painting, you might think, well, hold on. The first painting that I do is going to be to a certain standard. And I kind of touch on this scene before that.

That means everything else I do from that point has to follow on and follow that same path I think is less applicable in your own life because there’s less judgment. And that’s probably really what it comes down to, right? If we do one thing, but then we change course, we change our mind, we change our approach, our stance, what are other people going to say?

That’s really probably what it comes down to for me, what other people are going to think. Will they be able to understand that? My reason for changing things, my reason for adopting comes from a place of learning and not from a place of lack of commitment or lack of follow through or lack of dedication. And that’s where I’m going to leave it today.

My instinct, as always, is to try and sum up in some duty lesson and juicy takeaway for you. But I’m not going to I’m going to let you do that. I’m going to let you take from this point, from.

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