Comparison is the thief of joy.

Above: Image by Gina Milicia, Cartagena, Colombia shot on iPhone and processed in Lightroom 

Have you ever felt intimidated to share your work because you thought everyone else in your photography group, online community or class was better than you? 

Are you frustrated by the fact that you are not grasping photography concepts or your work isn’t developing as fast everyone else seems to be?

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

When I was seven, my dad bought me a bike. It was the most beautiful bike I’d ever seen. It was powder blue with a white seat and white grips on the handlebars.

I rode that bike everywhere. On the weekends I’d clean and polish the chrome and grease the chain. 

Riding that bike was my happy place, then one day one of my best friends got a bike for his birthday.

His bike was a beautiful red racing bike with gears, front and rear brakes, a speedo and a bell. 

Suddenly I saw my bike without my rose-coloured glasses. My bike was second-hand basic, no-frills, no bells, and whistles. Next to my friend’s bike, my bike looked drab.

I wished I had a beautiful, shiny bike instead of my second-hand tatty bike. 

Seeing that brand new racing bike was the first time I can remember feeling jealous. In a split second, I went from being the happiest girl in the world who owned the coolest bike ever, to feeling like a total loser with a hand-me-down. 

What changed? I now had something to compare my bike to.

Jealousy comes from a feeling of lack. We believe that the good stuff other people have and we don’t is the secret to happiness and success.

The problem with this is that you can never fill that void. George Carlin sums this up beautifully:

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.” 

Envy or jealousy is a useless emotion made up by your ego, who can be a real a-hole sometimes. The ego’s full-time job is to keep you safe, and the best way to do this is to keep you small and constantly remind you that you are not enough and don’t have enough and the grass is always greener somewhere else.

Next time you feel that familiar pang of envy via comparison – try and reframe your thinking.

Instead of being envious of a #yoga #beachbabe #Iwokeuplikethis #blessed Instagram account for having a bazillion likes, have a look at just what they are doing to achieve their success. They are consistently posting useful and engaging content and have worked hard to develop a large following that has probably taken years to build.

If #yoga #Iwokeuplikethis #blessed can do it, so can you. It’s not enough to post a “technically beautiful” shot these days to get noticed; you need to put yourself out there. Talk about your work and share content on a consistent basis.

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.” – Henry C. Link

“Here is a photo where I completely botched the lighting, exposure, and composition,” said no photographer ever.

The majority of photographers only ever share their best work and rarely discuss their mistakes or failures. It’s great to have artists whose work you admire and aspire to be like but don’t forget they too are having bad days, or making mistakes. They only share their best work.

“If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.” – Confucius

Finally, competition is a good thing. Surround yourself with people who are just ahead of you on your path to success. These mentors will inspire you to challenge yourself and work harder to reach your goals.

The grass will always be greener on the other side, but hopefully, you’ll be so busy making your grass the best it can be, you won’t notice.  

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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