“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation, but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous half-possession. That which each can do best, none but his maker can teach him.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do you ever spend your time comparing what you have with what someone else has or what you have achieved with some other artist’s accomplishments? Do you ever compare your artistic endeavors with what other‘s have accomplished?
These kinds of reactions are defensive and designed to make yourself look better than someone else.
I know it’s easy to think that you can only be happy if you are right and best and someone else is wrong. But if you are going to find your own way as an artist, you must set yourself beyond comparisons. But sometimes this is hard for artists.
Naturally, if you spend your time constantly comparing what you have with what someone else has or what you have achieved with someone else’s accomplishments, you’re going to be miserable.
The medals are always shinier on someone else’s chest. You want to strive for a situation in which you determine your own failures and successes, in which you use your own particular assets to the fullest measure possible, and in which your view of yourself is not contingent on anybody else’s view of you.
You don’t have to prove yourself to anybody. The sooner you realize this, the better you will begin to feel.
Maybe you think this is all nonsense. Maybe it doesn’t explain the facts as you know them–the fact, for example that some people excel financially and professionally in the arts with what seems to be little or no effort. You may even feel that, no matter how hard you try, you still won’t be able to do what others are doing with apparent ease.
Well, this may be true, but so what?
The point is to discover what you do well, not to follow somebody else’s footsteps or plans.
And everybody does something well. It may take a little looking, but you can find it. But you won’t find it very fast if you start out thinking you can’t.
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