We get better when we compete and strive with others. Competition provides us context. We get to see how good (or not) we really are. Without the benefit of competition, we compete in a silo, in our own room, if you will, never knowing how we stack up. While social comparison can be pernicious, it is a good thing when it comes to gauging your ability at a certain task or action.
Competition makes us better.
Say, you’re new to something, like programming. You read a few books. You hammer out some C++ code. You think you’re pretty good. But unless you’ve seen others’ code and their compiled results, you really don’t know. As any good coder would tell you, if you’re just starting out and you’re coding in C++, you’re probably terrible. Few are wizards out of the gate when it comes to programming. You may get the concepts and constructs quickly, but that doesn’t mean you’ve conquered a language. Excellent programming, like any high-in-demand skill, requires years of dedicated practice.
When it comes to our creations, our attitudes are fragile.
Say, you’re new to being on camera. Anybody can be on camera today and upload their videos to YouTube. Interestingly, it is actually a good practice to do so in order to get the practice. After some time, you wonder how good you are. If your YouTube account is new, you’re likely playing to an audience of 1 or 2. It can take some time to gain traction. This is where most people drop-off. They come on strong out of the gate. But then when the accolades and praise don’t immediately follow their uploads, they whine to others and wonder what’s wrong with these YouTube people? Even more difficult to take, they get one or two negative comments about their video, read them, and then their creative world implodes on them because of some dumb, thoughtless comment one weirdo made. When it comes to our creations, our attitudes are fragile.
Say you’re new to a domain such as paid public speaking. Maybe you have a few gigs under your belt and are getting paid some money for your words. This tends to boost peoples’ attitudes early. If you’re new, you’re playing small venues. You may not know what’s really possible in this domain. Then, one day, you attend a Tony Robbins event or a Brendon Burchard event. These guys show you what’s possible when it comes to the Expert space. Your mind is blown. And now you have context for what is possible within this area. You’re merely scratching the surface of what’s possible. And now you know. This can either deflate you or completely inspire you. It is your choice.
Only doing the act one time is wildly insufficient.
Within the context of creativity, only doing the act one time is wildly insufficient. Similar to being a One Hit Wonder, why would you want to be a One Book Wonder? Or, a One Video wonder? Or, a Three Web pages Wonder? Or, a One Speech Wonder? Or, a One Stand-Up Act Wonder? There is so much more to create! There is so much more to get after. We’ve barely begun.
As Ryan Holiday reminds us, the best marketing for your current book is to begin working on the next book immediately. What’s the next project? What’s the next video? What’s the next promotion? What’s the next speech? What’s the next course? What does your audience seek from you now? The best creativity and its complementary marketing is the discipline of doing the work.