Why Can’t You?

I hate to say it, but sometimes, I look at how others are doing in similar fields to me and use that as a way to gauge my own abilities. They say comparison can kill, but honestly, sometimes it motivates me. Sometimes, I get inspired by what others do. Sometimes, I even get envious or judgmental. I always acknowledge it, and I tell myself, “Hey, if they can do it, so can I, if that’s what I really want!” I wish I wasn’t envious or judgmental of other people at all, but I figured if I’m feeling this way, I might as well spin it into something beneficial. And you can too!

Sometimes, it may be a person you know in real life: a friend, an acquaintance, a family member, a bully... Other times, it could just be some random person online, or that you may only know by name (e.g. a celebrity, an influencer, an author, etc.). It doesn’t really matter who. The point is, sometimes they do something that you’ve been dreaming of, and you see their success. You see them doing well. And then deep inside, you’re like, “Wait, that could be me.”

And uh, no offense, but sometimes, you feel like you could do a much better job than the person in question. I’ve had a few acquaintances who have started businesses, started blogging, published books, created merch, and so much more, and I’m like, “Hey wait a minute, that’s what I’ve been wanting to do!” And then out of curiosity, I look into what they’re doing. I read their blogs, check out their social media, and view their merch designs. When I read it or view it, I’m thinking, “Wow, this is really average or bad quality. Do they seriously make money this way?” Hey, maybe it seems brilliant to them, just as what I’m creating seems brilliant to myself. And you know, maybe their advice actually works for some people. So rather than scowling at their work, if I think I have much better ideas, why don’t I create something of my own and put it out there?

Most of these people who write books or start businesses have no clue what they’re doing when they start. Even after they execute the idea, it’s imperfect. There may be many flaws. But you know, that’s how you get started. And, I guess the reason I get so critical of others is because I’m constantly trying to make sure that what I put out is of good quality. I’m a perfectionist in a way. But today as I was tuning into Steve Pavlina’s 5th Amplify Zoom call (I know I’m rambling, bear with me), I shared the realization that it’s better to share an imperfect creation than not at all. Who is going to benefit from your creations if you keep it all to yourself?

Plus, usually you improve over time. I say usually, because it does take some conscious effort. You have to be aware of where you’re at, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, what’s landing with people, etc. I’ve dealt with so-called professionals, I’m talking about people with PhDs or who have been working in a field for 25+ years, and they continue to give outdated advice. They don’t really learn anything new. One example is a psychiatrist that claimed to have had training in CBT. She really only knew the basics and thought that that was sufficient enough. I received treatment from her for a couple of years. She shared a lot of ideas that I just couldn’t see eye to eye with. I couldn’t understand some of her suggestions. Well much later, I went to an expert on CBT and he was able to help me make significant changes in my life with what I had been struggling with. And a few times even, he would say the complete opposite of what my psychiatrist was suggesting. I could rant about this in a whole different blog post (or maybe even a video), but anyway…

The reason I’m rambling about this is because honestly, it takes little to no effort to be ordinary, to do what everyone else is doing, to be average… So honestly, if someone else is able to do something with such low effort, imagine if you were the one doing that. I’m not saying you should strive to be average. I would hope that you would try to become better. But, I’m just saying, there are so many average singers making song covers on YouTube who have thousands of followers. There are so many average life coaches making hundreds or thousands of dollars a month with their coaching business. There are so many average merch designers making hundreds of sales every year. If they can do it, why can’t you?

Also, you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Don’t know how to set up a website? Ask someone. Don’t know how to create quote posts on Instagram? Ask someone. Honestly, I’m working on this myself because I get a little nervous to work with other people. I tend to do most of my creative work by myself (blogging, setting up a website, creating Instagram posts, creating a bio website, producing music, putting my music on Spotify/iTunes, etc.). But, I have a friend who helps me with music artwork. It started with her approaching me and asking me if she could make artwork for a song I was covering. We have a good friendship in general, so I feel comfortable going to her continuously for help. I’ve collaborated on a song in the past with someone I knew, though we weren’t particularly close, and I felt awkward trying to push for the project to be completed by a certain time. So, I’ve learned I like working with friends, or at least have that openness to be transparent/honest about what your expectations are. You don’t necessarily have to be friends though. You could find someone to help you in whatever area so that you can focus on what you do best / what your interest is.

It took me a while to start my “music career” on YouTube. I was haunted by this memory in 7th grade when a boy, who I considered to be a good singer, heard me singing with friends, and commented that I sounded terrible. I was so embarrassed that I was shy about singing in front of others if it was by myself. Honestly, thinking back, I realized that my style of singing was different, much softer. I was in tune. I was in choir. I didn’t have a “pop” vocal, I had a choral voice at the time, and I didn’t know how to sound like people did in pop songs.

ANYWAY, long story short. Eventually, I got into K-Pop, and I remember putting out my first cover (2NE1!). A while later, a couple of friends heard it and encouraged me to post more. It took another year or so, but I started posting more bad quality covers. I thought it was so cool that I could figure out some songs by ear. But oh my goodness, the instrumental quality was horrible. Anyway, I received feedback from random internet strangers that it wasn’t that great either… >< (I set those videos to private, haha.)

But then, I would go see other YouTube cover artists who were not even producing their own instrumentals, who had terrible English translations (I thought I could do so much better), and with poorly edited vocals. They had thousands of followers, and hundreds of likes. I was wondering, how on earth were they doing this? And how were they not getting the terrible feedback that I was getting?

I kept going, and eventually, some of my song covers were landing (though admittedly, improving in quality too as compared with my previous covers). One was even shared by the original artist! In my head, I was like, “How’s that Bob?!” (That’s not his real name, but I’m referring to the boy who told me my singing was horrible back in middle school.)

Even now, I consider myself an average singer. I’m not a good belter. I don’t have this dazzling tone. My head voice sounds weird when recorded. Heck, I use pitch correction on my vocals. I hardly sing live to people. But I told myself, if others can do it, so can I! I don’t need to be the best. It’s not like I’m doing brain surgery where it’s life or death. And hey, you don’t need to appeal to everyone either.

I don’t want to throw names, but there are a lot of people for example in the personal development field who I consider to be quite average. They talk about very basic concepts and share these ideas as if they’re the most profound ideas ever. And you know, for people who are learning these ideas for the first time, it can seem groundbreaking. But I’ll be honest, I consider myself an intermediate in terms of what I know in the self-help field, and I feel like I know just as much or even more than some of these “experts”. Truthfully, I don’t like that I’m being so judgmental about these people. They’re probably just trying to help others. If I feel like I can do so much better, then I should just do it.

Some people make a living out of criticizing others. It can be funny or entertaining honestly. There are vegans who analyze non-vegans’ “what I eat in a day” videos. There are film critics, reaction videos, and course/book reviews. Some of these can be done tastefully. Though, some can be outright obnoxious, so I would tread carefully into this path if it seems like something that interests you. Personally, I want to do reviews/criticisms of my own, though I’m trying to find a tasteful way to accomplish this. I’ve tried doing this in the past in college / post-uni, but it came across as harsh, and I didn’t like that. I wouldn’t want to receive such harsh criticism myself so publicly, so I’d like to tone that down.

I went on a tangent, but my point remains. If someone else can do it, why can’t you? They might not even be as talented, as skilled, as experienced, as knowledgeable, as smart, as clever, as whatever! But if they can find a way, surely you can too. Sometimes, this is what motivates me to get started. This may seem petty at first, but honestly if it inspires you to do something for yourself, then that’s great! Eventually, you may even find those feelings of jealousy and envy and comparison go away as you begin to focus on accomplishing your goals or dreams in life.

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