I read that title quote somewhere, but apparently it was too much for my brain to remember where I read it or who said it. Sorry about that. Let’s just say in the context of this post I got really smart and wrote it myself. It’s normally one of those lines that I read and think ‘give me a break’ and roll my eyes at, but lately it seems to be a necessary mantra.
Today I was on youtube (as per usual) and I happened to click on a Jenna Marbles video where she talked about how we need to stop comparing ourselves to other people. (Here’s the link) It was one of those times where you really needed to hear something but you weren’t expecting it from the place you did, and you also didn’t know that you needed to hear it until you heard it. That make sense? Lately I’ve been wondering whether or not my writing is good enough to ever be published, and couple that with the great books I’ve been reading and the awesome television shows I’ve been watching I began to think that there was no point in even trying. How could someone like me ever do anything worthwhile? How could this brain ever create something as pure magic as Philip K. Dick’s work, or the tangled beauty of Game of Thrones?
No beard? No joining our club. Our club for awesome.
In fact, I’m still convinced that I will never succeed in creating anything of their standard, let’s be honest there’s not many who could, but it doesn’t mean that I should just stop what I want to do and resign myself to a life of never trying at anything. In the video, Jenna says that once you accept that you’re never going to be the prettiest, or the smartest, then all the pressure lifts from your shoulders. I’m attempting to let go of pressure and expectation.
I always wanted to release a book of short stories, but everyone always said “you can’t do that, it’s so hard, don’t bother, you won’t be good enough, don’t you know only really famous authors can release that shit?” Well, eff that. I’m going to make a book of short stories, get that thing published and everyone can kiss my paper and ink ass.
If I ever want to get a move on I can’t be held back by comparing my story to another person’s and second guessing myself, I’ll never get anything done and life just doesn’t work that way. Though it’s at least for now keeping me from getting pregnant – “aww that person has the cutest baby in the world! I wonder if I’ll have a cute baby? What if I don’t have a cute baby… what if my baby is like Oscar the Grouch or something, oh my God I should wait..” So that’s a bonus.
Comparison is a tricky thing because on the one hand we shouldn’t compare our looks to airbrushed models, or our intelligence to professionals, or our lives to rich celebrities, but you also don’t want to go the other way and use comparison as an excuse to just do everything terribly only to say “Well it’s MY best and I’m not comparing it to Hawking so tough titties!” especially if the thing you did terribly was somebodies wedding cake or a kid’s braces.
A little comparison can be used as inspiration; look at the greats that you admire and tell yourself that you’re going to try as hard as you can to achieve something you can admire just as much one day. Instead of worrying or whining about not being as good, sit down and get to work on getting good. Earn your talent. Practise. Learn. Don’t be held back by your insecurities or fears – sit down and educate yourself on how to get better at something and try to enjoy it while you’re doing it. If such a thing as enjoying university lectures, self help dvds, textbooks or practice sessions is possible. At the very least know that you’ll enjoy the results.
And if you find that your absolute best after all that hard work isn’t anything so good as those greats you admired, well at least you know now what your real potential actually is and you can work from there. In the words of Dylan Moran, “Don’t do it! Stay away from your potential. You’ll mess it up, it’s potential, leave it. Anyway, it’s like your bank balance – you always have a lot less than you think.”
“Wait, that’s not an inspiring, uplifting quote to end on Jess what are you doing?!”
No wait! Never fear I have one last thing to say; I tried to think of something really beautiful and inspirational but it turns out I’m way too cynical to even half believe the bullshite that came out of my brain, so after back-spacing those phony-sounding sentences I just want to say – how do you know your potential is limited unless you try to unlock it all? Work as hard as you can, and if you’re not the greatest? Deal with it. Accept it. Enjoy what talent, hobby, job or interest you have and let go of the idea of having to be number 1 or else nothing at all.
What would you do otherwise? Never try? I’d rather fail knowing I did the best I could and knowing that I enjoyed doing it, than wake up one day and realised I’ve failed at my entire life.