I saw this quote today, and it truly spoke to me. Likely because it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, and because I honestly believe it’s true.
Here’s the thing: it’s no great secret that all of us are different. That means the path our life leads us on – personally and professionally – will naturally likewise be different. That’s part of what MAKES us different, and that’s a good thing. Really.
Why, then, would we look at someone else’s journey / successes / experiences and compare them to our own? We aren’t them. Our story isn’t theirs. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
What is wrong is when somehow that comparison is made, and you allow it to lessen the worth of your own story. Or, in your own pain, decide to lessen the value and joy someone else is experiencing.
Last night, I watched the second part of a bio on Frank Lloyd Wright. This was the second part of the bio, chronicling the latter portion of his life and career (part of The Masters series. This is the PBS link, though that’s not where I watched it.) Anyway, a large part of it dealt with how by the age of sixty or so, his career was considered essentially over. New architects from the International Modernist School (forgive me if I’ve mangled that) were gaining in popularity. Evidently, Mr. Wright was said to name flies after some of these new architects…just before he swatted them. He was publicly considered a has-been, and was also public in his denunciation of the new architects and style. Perhaps this was in part the reflection of the video, but it seemed as though he’d let comparison to others stymy his own creativity.
Whatever the case, one of the most inspiring parts was that this was not the last of Mr. Wright. Far from it. In his seventies, he re-booted his career in rather remarkable fashion. He is remembered now as a man who remained true to his own vision, a rebel, and truly someone who forever changed how people thought about architecture and the homes we live in.
Not a bad legacy for a guy killing his rivals in fly-form I’d say.
And how terrible if he had remained in that state, letting comparison and professional jealousy eat him from the inside. Think of the many beautiful master-works he never would have created.
Think of the master works YOU could create if you stopped looking at someone else’s story, comparing your journey to theirs, and instead, got on with your own work and your own journey. They are distinctly yours, and who knows: maybe someone else is comparing themselves to you. Now wouldn’t that be silly?
Your turn: what do you think? How do you move past comparison and get on with respecting and valuing your own journey, your own story?