Dealing with Creative Jealousy
I came across this honest art video about jealousy and I wanted to write about my own thoughts on this. I haven’t experienced jealousy much myself, but this could be due to my mindset or my unusual mix of interests – art and computing. There have been moments where I’ve felt intimidated by the skills of others, but then I remind myself that I have my own unique angle to see things from. I have abilities that perhaps the other person doesn’t have. With creative pursuits it’s not just about the skills we have, but also our own unique approach to it and the experiences that have inspired us. Those that thrive at what they do are not necessarily the most skilled at it, but the ones that bring a new attitude to the table.
I enjoy browsing through what others have produced. When I first started programming I read through game development diaries to see what process others followed. They were way better than me, but they did have years of experience on me too. I found it inspiring as it showed me the potential for what I could become if I stuck with it. If it wasn’t for seeing other creations I’d have never considered venturing into it myself as I wouldn’t have known what was possible. I’m also thankful to those that pass down their knowledge to newcomers, allowing them to skip some hurdles along the way. Some people allow others to put them off because they can’t imagine ever being able to reach such a skill level. If we allow a goal to feel insurmountable it can prevent us from even trying; Why invest our time and energy into something that isn’t going to work out? When we view the work of others it helps to do it with the belief that we can one day get to the same point. We’re all on different journeys and we don’t have to travel at the same pace or in the same direction.
There will be times when we meet others that have similar levels of experience to us and yet seem to be so much better at it. Perhaps they have some natural talent for it that we don’t posses. I personally don’t like to put too much down to natural talent because it can be a limiting belief. For example, a few of my teachers put me down because of my gender; I’ll be slower to pick things up apparently. For a while this belief held me back. It was upsetting to think that even if I put more work in than everybody else I’d never be able to match them. Unfortunately I’ve met others that have also been disparaged in this way and actually believe themselves to be less capable. Just because others say these things that doesn’t make it true, but I’ve also come to the realization that even if the way we are born has affected our abilities that doesn’t have to be a negative. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, we might be able to bring in a new perspective that nobody else could. I also read in the book ‘The art of game design: A book of lenses by Jesse Schell‘ that if we practice enough we can overcome any lack in natural talent. People that don’t have to work hard for what they do don’t learn how to be persistent either.
When I look at what others can do it can cause me to reflect on my own work and leave me feeling worse about my own abilities, but this’ll drive me to putting in extreme amounts of training so as to overcome the discomfort of my own insecurities – there can be silver linings to our troubles. I love being around other creative people because they have an energy to them that can leave me itching to do more. It’s also beneficial to be surrounded by individuals that can push us to get the best out of ourselves. We can also treat it as an oppertunity to learn from them. It’s also great to be around people that understand the creative process. They know the importance of getting good solid feedback, but are also aware of how unsettling it can be to share our ideas.
There’s no shame in feeling a little jealousy from time to time. Comparing ourselves to others is a struggle many of us have, but it can benefit us too depending on how we choose to respond to it. We can let it drag us down, choose to acknowledge it and move on (we all have vulnerable moments afterall), or we can help each other to achieve our reach our goals.