09: Don’t compare yourself
to the success of others
Everybody has a different story – if we didn’t, life would be boring and predictable. You should never compare your success to someone else’s because you don’t know how similar their situation is to yours. You don’t know what they’ve had to sacrifice to get to where they are today. Moreover, you can’t understand what their exact path in life has been to get them there either. All you see is the results.
Hopefully one day somebody is going to look at you in the same way as you view your idols. Be the exception to the story by documenting the pain staking hard work and effort it took to get to your success. Consequently, it will help other aspiring illustrators on their way to achieving their dreams, too.
The grass always looks greener on the other side
To expand on my point, nobody’s story is the same as yours. The variables in all of our lives are what define our stories from one another.
For example, one of my friends, let’s call him Ben, is 25. He has just started building his own illustration business alongside his day job. For Ben, the week is busy, working a full-time job as a web developer. Ben has a wife and two young children at home, too.
Consequently, this means he doesn’t have a lot of free time to pursue his passion for illustration after work. He has other responsibilities that come before his side hustle.
Ben is in awe of my other friend, Shannon. Shannon is also 25 but is considered a very successful illustrator for her age. Her business in now in its tenth year will almost every waking hour since school dedicated to it. However, she is single, has no children and still lives with her parents.
As well as Shannon has done career wise, she sacrificed so much of her social life in the last decade – pretty much all of her late teens and early twenties were spent hustling.
Each of my friends has something the other desires. Regrettably, neither of them knows the details of each other’s true story.
The grass always looks greener on the other side, and you will always want something you don’t have.
We are constantly curating our success
This is also true for the people in your industry who you look up to. As much as you think you know them through their curated content that they post online, it’s all exactly that – curated.
You couldn’t possibly know the ins and outs of their everyday lives. Even if they regularly broadcast Facebook Live posts and Snapchat updates, you can’t know everything.
The content they share is filtered to promote the best version of themselves.
We all do it, even if it’s not on a business level.
Think about your own Facebook page or even your LinkedIn profile – you only make the best things public.
When on holiday in Egypt with my girlfriend last year, we must have snapped over 1000 photos of us. However, there are only about 200 of those we decided to share with our family when we got back. And, only about 80 of them made it onto Facebook. Nobody wants to waste their time looking through your blurred photos with a finger over the lens – so we curate what we put out there.
We are constantly curating ourselves
By comparing yourself to others success it’s easy to get discouraged and start to loose confidence in your ability.
We get discouraged when someone the same age or younger than us seems to be more successful. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be just as successful as them or even more successful in the future.
Sure, people who are younger with fewer responsibilities have more time to pursue what they want to do. But remember, that’s their situation. Yours is unique to you.
If you are unhappy with your lifestyle, you do have the power to change it. It’s true you may not have as much time in the day to change it with as other people do. But, you do have time.
If you really care about illustration, you’ll find the time to create. Even if it’s only a small amount of time illustrating, it’s better than no time spent on it.
Small successes snowball into bigger successes. And, winning small battles help to win the war. Never forget the bigger picture.
If you look at what you achieved today, it might seem a miniscule achievement. However, when you look back in years to come, you’ll see how it contributed to the bigger success.
To illustrate that point, let’s consider you have a goal to loose weight. By going to the gym today you aren’t going to shift all of the weight you want to loose. Nor are you likely to notice a significant change in your body. However, by turning up every day for months, even years; you’ll start to notice changes.
This is the same for your illustration. Nurture it. Work hard at it. Then, in the future, look back and admire your own success.
Finding extra time in your day for illustration
My next blog post will be referring to the topic of making time to do what you love when you don’t have any. We all need more time. We’d all love an extra hour in the day or an extra day in the week – I want to help you get it.
Be proud of your own success and keep hustling.