Don’t Compare; Just Create


I went to a unique competition last night.

My brother-in-law Barry—a successful and seasoned aerospace engineer in his mid-50’s—entered a sports talk show contest, “Kickstart Your Career” with the Ump Sports Radio.

And he made the top 10.


So last night nine men and one woman took two minutes on stage to give us their best “Sports Update” broadcast. The judges critiqued; we audience members voted. Two people will be cut each week. This Friday we’ll find out the top 8 who will compete next week.

Here’s a 20 second clip:

[click here if you can’t see the video of Barry’s update]

The lone winner at the end of the contest will be the new host of his/her own sports talk show one morning each week.

But as I listened to each contestant, I struggled to compare them. One had great delivery, but another had better content. One made me laugh, but another kept me totally engaged.

Maybe I’m not supposed to compare?

I’m focusing this month on not comparing. For my One Word “Welcome” this year, June’s challenge is to let go of comparing and welcome creating instead.

Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection says,

“For most of us, letting go of comparison is something that requires constant awareness. It’s so easy to take our eyes off our path to check out what others are doing and if they’re ahead or behind us.”

We all know how bad we can feel when we measure ourselves by others.

Instead, let’s celebrate our originality.

Brown suggests we do this through being creative.

The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.

And lest we think we are not one of those creative people, Brown says this,

“’I’m not very creative’ doesn’t work. There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

I saw Barry use his creativity last night when he gave his sport update.

And when the last contestant had finished, I realized this: it was far more about creativity in each of them than about comparison.

Sure, the judges will compare within limits to choose a winner.

But the winner will be the one who makes a unique contribution to the art of broadcasting, one who stands out, not a cookie-cutter announcer who is just like others already on the air.

Will Barry win the contest? In many ways, I think he already has. He’s sharing unique parts of himself with us through his originality with words and knowledge.

He’s creating.

The next time we’re tempted to compare, let’s create something, too.

“When I make creating a priority, everything in my life works better.”

* * *

Do you consider yourself a creative person? What have you already created this week? Please share in the comments.

(And I’m not just bragging on my brother-in-law because he bought my dinner last night. He’s really good at what he does.)


36 thoughts on “Don’t Compare; Just Create

  1. jade from Henibean

    We are neighbours at #tellhisstory today and your title caught my eye because my blog post this week is about creativity too! We went to a fab sculpture park and it inspired this weeks musings. I agree that we shouldn’t compare our efforts… however I definitely do…I also had a friend come round this week to work on a mural that she and I are painting for my daughters up coming birthday and she paints so much better than I do that its hard not to compare my abilities with hers… however I had to remind my self that it was the first time I had ever used acrylic paint…. and it wasn’t such a bad effort. We both have different styles and in the end it will work for the greater good of the project. In the post i also mentioned that there are different ways of using creativity… its not all about art either. Thanks for your thought and insight this week too… we must be on the same wave length!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love this, Jade: “We both have different styles and in the end it will work for the greater good of the project.” Yes. That’s the whole point, yes? God designed us so that no two are alike, each of us bringing a unique gift to the scene. I imagine your mural will be a beautiful compilation because of both of your styles! Headed now to see those sculptures you mentioned and read your words. Thanks for stopping in today.

  2. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    What a unique topic! I really enjoyed stopping by here. It gave me food for thought to not accept the “there are creative peeps and non-creative peeps” position. Blessings from #EspressosOfFaith via #WomenWithIntentionWednesdays!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think it’s so easy for us to claim we aren’t creative, yes? There are certain areas where I think I am; other areas where I think I’m not. 🙂

  3. Ginger Harrington

    Appreciating the gifts and blessings we each bring enriches life with a fulness long for. Comparison is such a toxic trap, separating rather than celebrating. Oh, what we miss when we compare rather than appreciate. Blessings, Friend.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re saying it well: “Oh, what we miss when we compare rather than appreciate.” May I compare less and appreciate more. I appreciate you, Ginger.

  4. Michele Morin

    Today . . .
    I created some chop suey that my 17 year old described as “very fine.”
    Hey, some days you have to pick the roses where you find them.

    Thanks, Lisa, for your inspiring words – as usual!

  5. Tracy

    Hi Lisa, that is such a great perspective. I think comparison, of ourselves with others, and others with others, always leads to negativity, because well, one must always be better than the other in a comparison. It is way better to celebrate the things that stand out in others, or ourselves, and accept the differences, than mark one thing higher than another. I certainly find myself always on the short side of my self comparisons. Such a waste or energy and emotion. Great reminder to love who God created us to be.
    God bless

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Tracy. I totally agree with you that our comparisons are a waste of energy and emotion. If we end up on the *negative* side of the comparison, we feel bad about ourselves. And if count ourselves on the *positive* side, we become prideful. Let’s just each be who God created us to be! Thanks for stopping by this morning.

  6. Betsy de Cruz

    This is thought-provoking and encouraging, Lisa! You’re right. Your brother already won by putting himself out there.

    I never considered myself creative because I compared myself with my middle brother who was better in art. Only in the last five years I realized that paper crafts, card making, decorating, cooking, and writing COUNT as creativity! (And my brother is now a business executive, who uses his creativity with lots of problem solving, people skills, and math skills!)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Betsy: We have to expand our definition of creativity, yes? 🙂 I loved traditional crafty things in the past, but now I don’t at all so I sometimes think I’m no longer creative. But that’s wrong thinking because creativity is so much broader. Sounds to me like you have lots of avenues of creativity going on!

  7. Elizabeth @ Guilty Chocoholic Mama

    “The next time we’re tempted to compare, let’s create something, too.” What an interesting and enlightening post, Lisa! I love this “action plan” you’ve offered. Comparison–the thief of joy, yes?—is and always has been a huge trap for me. I don’t consider myself a creative person, but I like the perspective on that you offer here. I will say that I “create” some fairly killer chocolate-chip cookies on a regular basis, so I hope that counts. 😉 So glad I found you today at Thankful Thursdays!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, if you only knew how much I love chocolate chip cookies. ha. I’m like your husband; I can eat them daily if they’re available. Wish I could try yours but then I’d be tempted to compare them to mine, and I better not do that. 🙂 Blessings to you, Elizabeth!

  8. Trudy

    Such great insight here, Lisa. I too easily fall into the comparison trap and end up feeling “not enough.” I needed to hear this – “Instead, let’s celebrate our originality.” I have to continually remind myself that God gave each of us unique gifts and a purpose here on earth that no one else can fill. Thank you for this encouragement today. Blessings and hugs to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Our uniqueness is indeed a gift, Trudy! It’s easy to sometimes view that as our “weirdness”. ha. But God sees it as a blessing. Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. Valerie Sisco

    Hi Lisa,
    I loved this! What a great competition and what a great idea for your brother-in-law to showcase his talents! But what I loved most about this post was your call for us to create, no matter how we go about it and ignore comparing ourselves with others. Those are thoughts I always need to keep before me since it’s so easy to view what others do and listen to the doubts that come with those thoughts. Enjoyed popping in to your online home!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it’s definitely easy for us to look at what others are doing and think that’s what we should be doing too, and doing it just as well. After watching the competitors Tuesday night, I thought I might could read a sports update for 2 minutes, but talking off the cuff about sports and curating all those stats would NOT be for me. 🙂 I’m glad we’re all different after all. Thanks, Valerie, for adding your unique spin here.

  10. Ifeoma Samuel

    Hi Lisa, that’s something to think about… think that comparison should be viewed in terms of building your creativity in your own unique way, that’s a change in perspective!
    I like that you said, “The next time we’re tempted to compare, let’s create something, too.” Yup I agree, comparison could kill your own creativity so go create something too! Love this!
    Commenting from the email you sent…thanks again
    Have a wonderful weekend

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I am really enjoying reading Brene Brown’s book and the unique perspectives she shares. This comparing vs creating concept is from her “The Gifts of Imperfection” and I find it intriguing as well. Definitely something I need to think more about and put into practice. Have a great weekend yourself, Ifeoma!

  11. Sharon

    This is great because it reminds me not to limit myself when I think I am not creative enough or resourceful enough to do something. The more I try, the more I will find myself using creativity.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly, Sharon. We think that if we can’t do something like someone else, that we’re not creative enough. But that’s wrong thinking. However we do something is its own unique creation! 🙂

  12. Horace Williams Jr

    “Comparison”…yuk it is the evil cousin of “Doubt” Lisa! Thank you for this heartfelt reminder to thank God for the creativity within us. I try to remind myself that we all have our own God given talents and a unique story to tell but I think we can forget at times when we begin to “look around” at what others are doing. As a huge sports fan myself, kudos to Barry for going out and giving it a try. I wish him the best! Thank you for reminding us that God created us for His purpose and has blessed us with the “creativity to accomplish his will for our lives. Have a wonderful weekend and may God continue to richly bless you and yours!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good insight, Horace: comparison is the cousin of doubt. I’ll have to dwell on that a little more. You’d think we’d be so busy using our God-given gifts that we’d have time for neither comparison nor doubt, but nope. ha. Grateful for your time and comment here. Have a blessed Sunday and new week ahead!

  13. Jean Wise

    never heard of this type of competition and what a great illustration. I too fall into the comparison trap way too often – it really defeats and deflates me. I like the idea of putting this negative energy into a positive light of creativity. that feels very authentic to me. and I agree all of them were winners for trying and pushing themselves.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s a new competition to me too, one that I would NEVER enter, for the record. ha. But it was fun watching the 9 men and 1 woman who were brave enough to share their talents with us. Barry did make the cut for the final 8, so we’ll get to see him try again this Tuesday night to stay in the final 6! But yes, either way, he’s already a winner for even trying. Have a great week, Jean!

  14. Deb Wolf

    I love this, Lisa. Just be the best me I can be. Allow God to use me. Create for good and let Him do the rest. Thanks so much for this! Can’t wait to hear how things go for your brother. Exciting stuff!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Deb. We found out Friday afternoon that my b-i-l did indeed make the next round! So we’ll get to hear him this Tuesday night in the “rant” portion of the contest on Tuesday night. Not sure how uplifting that will be. ha. But knowing Barry, he’ll spin it in a positive way. 🙂

  15. Lori

    Isn’t it funny how the things we can do, we don’t consider creative? While I don’t consider knitting creative, it is something I do and have been able to use it in several situations for the Lord. This is a nice reminder, Lisa, in being creative for the Lord. Thanks for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I would definitely count knitting as a creative endeavor, Lori! 🙂 And that’s awesome that you’ve had opportunities to use it to glorify God. It’s amazing how God will give us encounters to use the gifts he’s given us. I’m not sure anyone would want anything I’ve knitted, but maybe something else would come along. ha.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Mary. I’m trying to stay intentional with my one-word; sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not. My brother-in-law did well again this past Tuesday night in the competition (or at least we all thought so, ha)!

  16. June

    Ha, ha, is this a “paid” critique, lol 🙂 So many great quotes, but this line is my favorite: “Instead, let’s celebrate our originality.” Amen! And good for you, being true to your #oneword365, Lisa! Mine has been asserting itself lately {new}, but I’m not quite ready to write about it on the blog. Have a blessed week, friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I didn’t get my dinner paid for by Barry this week, but he did give my husband a gift. So yes, we’re still giving a “paid” critique with our votes. 🙂
      Writing about our one words only can come when the time is right; I’ll look forward to hearing more about {new} if/when the time is right for you. It’s mainly for ourselves anyway, right?

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