Coping with Comparison and the Competition

By: Carley Varley

Comparison is the thief of joy, learn how to win it back!

Photo by Elizaveta Dushechkina on

Comparison is something that we practice daily, whether it be on social media or in person, you can sometimes catch yourself comparing over the smallest things. It is good to compare yourself to others sometimes, it can challenge you, make you realise something and even make you set a goal for yourself after seeing someone else achieve theirs.

The downside to comparison however, is when you start to compare everything and you can lose motivation and your spark. Today I’m going to be giving you some tips on how to cope with comparison and how to have a healthy competition with those around you. 

1. Bringing Focus to Your Journey

I often find myself looking on Instagram at musicians who are playing venues that I dream of playing, writing songs I wish I’d of written or collaborating with people I wish I could collab with. The issue is I haven’t seen their journey, I only see the results posted on Instagram or other social media.
It can be easy to wish you had opportunities and compare constantly to someone and then you end up feeling like ‘what’s the point?’ but you have to remember, everyone starts somewhere, and your hard work WILL pay off. Focusing on your own songs, your journey and your own creative time will ensure you feel encouraged and motivated.

If you just sit scrolling through musician’s profiles that are more well known, than you or have been established longer than you, you’re just going to compare and feel down. I’d even recommend shutting off social media for a week and focusing on your own projects, I guarantee you feel a difference in productivity. 

2. Learn how to have healthier competition

There is nothing wrong with being competitive, but when it starts to consume your thoughts and feelings, that’s when its time to stop.

Having competition with those in your field is inevitable, I’ve had people who I’ve felt quite competitive with in terms of getting gigs, writing better songs etc but I never let it run my creativity. Healthy competition is great because it can push you to achieve your goals, but unhealthy competition can lead to you comparing yourself so much that you begin to just copy everything another artist does.

When you compare yourself, you lose your identity a lot, you can begin to just copy another artist and you’ll find you find music less fun because you’re identity becomes staying ahead of another person rather than music.

3. Who should be accountable?

Comparison kills and so holding yourself accountable when this begins to happen is crucial. It can also be helpful if you struggle with this, to find someone you trust to hold you accountable.

Have a friend check in and ask you if you’ve been comparing yourself too much or if you’ve had a productive week, this should help you cope with comparison. You are in control of how often you compare yourself to others and so challenge yourself, if you feel yourself getting upset when you see other artists doing well, take a social media break, shut off and start to write some songs, jam along to your favourite songs, there are so many more productive things you can do rather than wasting hours of your time comparing.

You only see the finished product most of them time, you haven’t seen the work and stress, those artists felt the same way and probably still do sometimes, so keep going and don’t give up. 

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