The Comparison Trap (And How to Overcome It)

Comparison Trap | Matt Simon Designs

As a designer, it’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and never actually do anything myself.

The internet holds a vast collection of amazing work, and it doesn’t take long to find those whose work you admire, and let's be honest, envy at times. Whether it is a designer’s style, client list, or follower count, we easily fall into the comparison trap.

I’ve really gotten into hand lettering lately, but by no means am I a letterer.

I follow a lot of designers who are though, and its so easy to start to compare myself to them when I see the work they produce.

I start thinking, “There’s no way I can do what they’re doing!” But the thing the voice in my head leaves out is the timetable. All of these insanely talented designers have been working and honing their craft for years.

Why do I think I should be close to the same level after only a few weeks of practice?

If I’m honest, it’s not fair to myself to do that. I can’t look at someone who’s been doing something awesome for two years and wonder why I’m not there yet when I’ve been doing it for two months.

That’s a lot of pressure! No wonder people quit after only a short period of time. It’s impossible to live up to that standard. We have to accept the place we’re at in the process and realize we’ll only grow if we stop comparing and start doing things ourselves.

When you create your own work you love you start to worry less about what everyone else is doing.

So what do we do when we find ourselves salivating over someone else’s work and begin downgrading our own talents?

The key to avoiding this pitfall is simple: Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

The bottom line is you’ll always be ahead some people and behind others. The key is remembering to give yourself time grow and not letting the comparison trap get you down.

Matt Simon