One of the biggest ways artists get hung up, is by comparing themselves to similar artists and concluding they are in some way inferior to them. These comparisons, or more often self criticisms can be, and are a major impediment to your success and health. Criteria often used in such self abuse are age, skill, luck, personality, style, and an infinite array of others.
To hold the attitude that you are in some way “not enough” is to completely misunderstand whoyou really are. You are more than just another musician, more than yet another disposable actor or random graphic designer. What you create, or as I like to say, channel through your particular artform, is a 100% unique and one-of-a-kind creation! There has never been anything like it before… Sure, it might resemble a work by a blend of artists you adore, but it is nonetheless your personal expression and reordering of the elements.
Any predicament you find yourself in, someone has likely overcome before. Remember this truth, find your particular example and role model, and let that free you from the bounds this belief has held over your creative and personal life. We should always ask ourselves one special question whenever we experience such self defeating thoughts: Does this belief serve me?
Before giving you the following example, let me mention that you have full control over just one thing in your life, and through that one thing, you will lead yourself into momentous success or crashing failure in every regard. That is your thoughts. You choose them. When you think a thought that does not serve you, and you follow it into a feeling, and eventually into action and belief through observing the world through the paradigm it has created within you, you will eventually get a mirror reflection of them in the experiences and circumstances of your life. If you instead think hopeful and brighter thoughts consistently, they will ultimately end you up in a happier, and sunnier lifestyle.
Let me give you an example of when age is used as an excuse to postpone action. Many musicians who are advancing into their 30′s and 40′s that have not yet reached the level of success they had envisioned for themselves when they were younger get envious and anxious when their younger colleagues are “competing” for similar positions. Is this a productive way of thinking? In this case, no. The person self identifies with striving for something that they believe is not likely or possible for them. They will harbor feelings that will cause their demise in many areas of their life. This descent can include emotional displacement such as mistreating loved ones, overindulgence with food and drink, various substance abuse, ill health effects such as chronic diseases and disorders resulting in an early grave. Grim much? Yeah… A bit extreme there, but evidence* shows that is what such conflicting beliefs can cause. The same ailments can be attributed to someone who knows what they want to do in life, but puts it off indefinitely.
Heres a few examples of people who didn’t let age get in their way:
- Harlan Sanders – Better known as Kernel Sanders began to market and create his huge brand and cooking style until age 66
- Stan Lee – Created “Spider-Man” at age 43
- Henry Ford – Introduced the first Model-T car at 45 and created the first car assembly line at 60!
Hopefully you can apply this kind of evidence for what you feel you lack in. Do you have a certain disability? If you can’t find someone who specifically overcame the hurdle that you face, then find someone who overcame something just as tough or worse. Let it fuel your efforts! Replenish your inspiration often, even daily! If you are unique in your struggle, become an icon and represent an idea; make your success into your personal mission to be the example and role model for future generations!
What you can do, you must do. Repressing a long held desire can only lead to pain. So what if it takes you longer to succeed? So what if you will not be “better” than the others? Who’s keeping score anyway? Many great achievers have mirrored very similar philosophies concerning their efforts. This can be seen when asking Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods what they felt about their competition. They would always tell you, they had only one opponent… Themselves. Even when double the score ahead of 2nd place, they would continue to flow 110% effort to beat their previous records. Even though sports are competitive, they were more concerned with self development. Art on the other hand is not really a competitive endeavor, although it may seem that way sometimes. At the end of the day, every artist brings a unique flavor to the table that is palatable to a particular group. So get out of your own way, and do what you were put here to do!