When sitting down to start a project, sometimes I avoid staring at a blank page by googling things. Maybe if I see what someone else did, or how they did it, I’ll feel inspired.
I get sucked into a rabbit trail of supposedly ‘helpful’ searches.
Have I accomplished anything? Definitely not. I’m distracted, and I’ve wasted time. This brings me to my first point, of 3, on why you absolutely should stop looking at what everyone else is doing.
1. It’s unproductive.
You can look at what people have to say, how they do things, and why they do them all day long. When you’re reading and scrolling, it’s easy to feel like you’re accomplishing something. Call it research or whatever you like. But one thing is certain: it’s not helping you get words on your own page.
Start doing. Start creating. Start writing. Whatever it is you have set out to do: just do it. Brainstorm. Write the first thing that pops into your head, and don’t worry about how it looks right now. There will be plenty of time to improve and edit later. The biggest hurdle is starting. A page with words on it is far less daunting than a blank one.
So many of us look at what other people are doing, and praise them because they’re doing what we want to be doing. It’s costing us our own productivity. Cut the excuses, and be the doer.
2. It can (and will) discourage.
Looking at other people’s work can be a positive experience. It can truly be inspiring and uplifting.
But you’ve got to know your personal limits.
Everyone is on their own journey. It’s easy to fall into the snare of comparison. You should never feel down about your own work or capabilities because of what someone else is doing. You have to stay realistic. They started exactly where you are. Don’t let them intimidate you. With time and hard work, you can be there too.
3. It’s not YOU.
Develop your voice, your style, your way.
Just because a cool person does something one way, does not mean that you should copy it.
Maybe you think what you want to do has already been done by millions of people, so why even try?
They’re not you. You have a completely unique package and set of skills that would be impossible for anyone else to have.
So instead of looking at all the people who are doing the thing you want to be doing: learn from them, put in the work, hone your skills, and be yourself.
You just have to start.