How many times do you see something that someone else has done and think “why didn’t I think of that?” Well for me, it’s a lot!
As humans, why do we find it so necessary to compare ourselves to everyone around us? As photographers, we’re constantly putting our work up against everyone else and trying to determine how we stack up. As creatives, it’s a constant battle of looking to what others have done and wondering why we can’t be as creative and original as they are. There’s nothing quite like comparing yourself to someone that you think is better than you in order to feel like an untalented, unoriginal, fraud.
I don’t know about those of you reading this, but personally I’m sick and tired of feeling like this. My goal is not only to encourage and inspire you to be happier and healthier in your work and business, but it’s to do the same for me. Because this business of being a photographer is a daily struggle for me too. You see, I don’t have the magic bullet or secret sauce that’s going to make everything mysteriously hunky dorey. All I can do is share my own experiences and insights and hope that it hits home with someone that reads this and makes them think about their approach to being a photographer in a different way. In a way that works against our destructive human nature and that leads to a more successful version of ourselves.
Here’s what we need to remember (I’ve said it in numerous other posts and I’ll continue to say it in future posts)…God has made each of us distinctly different individuals. Most people will say that they know that, and we think that we understand what it means to be an individual…but the way we think and behave doesn’t support that logic. When we really understand what it means to be an individual, the need to compare ourselves to others begins to melt away. We start to see things through a unique perspective. It’s a very liberating experience to know that you are an original…and that as long as you stay true to yourself, you can never be duplicated!
One of the issues we see so often with more experienced photographers is an unhealthy fear that leads to jealously. Typically, this is brought on by seeing new, younger photographers coming up through the ranks. We want to get defensive and our gut reaction is to feel like they’re going to steal our business. We see them working hard and trying new ideas in an attempt to make a name for themselves and before you know it we’re turning our backs on them and secretly hoping they will fail. These types of gut reactions are typical human nature, but they are feelings that need to get shut down quickly…because allowing them to fester will only hurt you, not them. We should be sharing, teaching and guiding those coming up behind us, but when we fail to recognize the freedom in our own individuality, we clam up and look for excuses.
The best way for us to lose that sense of insecurity is to really know and understand that we are each a unique individual. Really think about that today. What does it mean to be an individual? If you were really embracing what it means to be YOU, how would it change the way you shoot? How would it change the way you run your business? How would it change the way you interact with others? If you’ve ever walked into a room full of your peers and felt like you were “bottom of the barrel”, then I’m talking to you! Because to understand that God has purposed you with a unique and distinct voice in this world, and that He has placed you in such a way that you can use your individual gifts to honor Him and honor others, is to understand that you are inferior to no one and no one is inferior to you.
So take a deep breath today. When you look at someone else’s work or life or business and wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”…understand that it’s because you are an individual. Your mind simply doesn’t work like theirs. The question that you should be asking is, “What will I think of next?”