Don’t compete. Just create.
If you have to compete. Compete with yourself. Compete with the expectations that you set for yourself. Even if you fall a little short, you’ve moved the ball forward. More so than if you accept your personal status quo.
It is when we compete with others—when we give in to the urge to compete with others—that we lose ground.
Competing with others changes your personal energy. It changes your mindset from the joy, pleasure and pain of creation to the fear of competition. The fear of limited resources that you think everyone is vying for. Competing for money. Competing for ideas. Competing for attention. Competing for time. Time—especially time—is often viewed as a limited resource. Fear of the ticking clock.
I fought that urge all during sxsw. Looking around at all the amazing work being done by the creative people around me, I started to get panicked. My work isn’t that creative! . . . I’m not doing things on the cutting edge . . . will my job become obsolete in five years? Will I? Amazing how fast being exposed to all those ideas and all that creativity can go from inspiration to anxiety. I think that is what happens when we give in to the current pace of our lives.
Even people at the top of their craft feel threatened by those behind them. I have seen it. I have experienced it. They use their position to compete with those they feel threatened by instead of becoming better themselves. People at the top are especially vulnerable to this mindset because of the built in advantages they have via their status. Ironically, often they got there by being creative, but they try to stay there by being competitive.
If you are at the top, or trying to reach your own version of the top. Take a deep breath. Just create!
There is room enough for everyone. And if there isn’t, maybe you should pick another ladder.