Let’s face it, we live in a world of comparison.
Each day we find our names, our abilities, our skills, our knowledge, our wealth, our test scores, our performance and anything else in between being constantly ranked against each other.
We’re told, “focus on your strength, they make you, you” and “nobody can be a better you than you”. But then we apply for that dream job and we do our best at the interviews. We wait for the reply and receive that long-awaited email only to find ourselves asking, “why didn’t I get that job?”, “Why was their quality of customer service better than mine?”, “how are they better than me?”
Living in today’s age where social media makes it easy for anyone to create their own business, the number of self-taught and academy-taught make-up artists is expanding. As a make-up artist myself, I find it harder and harder to make a name for myself. My creativity, the strength that others encourage me to pursue, has landed me in a career in make-up. And at times I find myself in a pool of doubt. “Is this really my strength? When so many others are better than me?”. It’s a battle after getting stuck in such a mindset to lift your head up and continue believing it’s your strength and to keep pushing forward. I know many people have made the decision that it’s not for them and move onto something else they perceive as another strength, but to me that feels like such a loss of potential and possibility.
So, how do we keep believing in our strengths when we live in a world of comparison?
It’s already hard enough finding your strengths sometimes.
I think it’s important to find that balance between focusing on your own strengths and using other people’s strengths to fuel you, encourage you and expand you.
We are all unique individuals with talents that we grow to become so individual to ourselves. When we focus on our own strengths and what we have we are less likely to get carried away with analysing and agonising over everybody else’s, avoiding that pit of doubt, discouragement and jealousy. However, purely staying in our own bubble and not being aware of others is also an extreme that should be avoided. When we focus too much on ourselves, we miss the opportunities to learn and grow from others. We miss out on that opportunity to cultivate a strength so special and individual to us that has been shaped and influenced by others who have the potential to expand us.
Take a novice gardener, trying to grow their own strawberries while living in a community that has many other gardeners of all levels growing apples, bananas, pears. It would be futile to get stuck comparing yourself to the expert gardeners and their blossoming apples, looking at your situation as hopeless, not doing anything but brooding. At the same time, it wouldn’t make sense to stay in your own garden without sharing ideas with the other gardeners, asking for advice. At the end of the day, you are all gardeners. However, the fruit you are producing will be different, the methods you use will be different, the conditions in which you grow your fruit will all be different.
So spend time patiently and persistently cultivating your talent as a gardener, use the other gardeners to encourage, build and guide you. By the end of it, you’ll be producing tasty strawberries for the people who need and love your strawberries.
Written by Faith Chow