Back when I was first venturing into the world of business and building my brand, there weren’t as many media outlets as there is today. There were landlines, newspapers, radio, TV, newspapers, and direct mail—that was it. If you wanted to see what was going on in other people’s lives, you had to read a newspaper, pick up the phone, or turn on the television.

Today, all of us have mobile phones in our pockets that keep us in touch with millions of people around the world. We even get notified instantly if a celebrity or one of our friends do or say anything.

This has to lead to us spending countless hours watching highlight reels of everyone around us. Consequently and inevitably, these highlight reels have become the new grid—the new paradigm—through which we view ourselves.

However, I have a stern warning for you: there is a trap waiting for you inside this new paradigm. If you don’t possess the discipline and a sober mindset, you are going to become its victim.

It’s called the Comparison Trap. Here are a few tools you can use to overcome this challenge..

Here’s an illustration. When you take up a new hobby like playing guitar or becoming a musician, you take some lessons to get the basics down. But then you progress and learn more advanced techniques and perform more difficult songs. Eventually, you try to test yourself and prove how good you are by imitating and playing cover songs.

It’s the same way with building our companies and launching our dreams. We see someone doing what we want, and we imitate their efforts to get the hang of things. The trouble starts when we use other people’s success and energy as a gauge for our feelings of self-worth. If we see other people enjoying the progress that we want but don’t have, it makes us feel worthless and discouraged.

Listen: It takes guts and grit to give life to an idea, build it out, and create a new venture or business out of thin air. I commend you for dreaming, building, and launching. But I want to warn you right now that the Comparison Trap is a blind spot, and it is nearly guaranteed. You are not immune to its effect.

Once successful entrepreneurs prove to themselves that they have what it takes, they set their mind to become pioneers, and they never look back. The greatest leaders have the discipline to stay in their lane—to keep the blinders on rather than trying to see where other people are in the race. They maintain a laser-like focus on their calling and mission without looking to others for their self-worth.

Challenge: Take a quick inventory. When you see others in your field succeed, are you stoked for them or are you envious? When you are around others, do you need to be the one who is above everyone else? Do you find yourself apprehensive to share ideas and collaborate out of fear of being hurt or betrayed? Where are you with trusting your heart to others?

The comparison can lead to resentment and envy, which will pollute the soul.

Solution: There is a common trait among successful, creative entrepreneurs that I’ve encountered. They know that their calling and life assignment isn’t to be compared to anyone else’s life. God made each one of us unique. There will not be anyone before you or after you who will fulfill your calling. If that’s the case, why compare yourself to others? You have a story to tell and a life to live. Be you. Everyone else is taken.

Have an amazing day!

This blog post is an excerpt from my latest book, 31 Disciplines of Highly Successful Creatives. Click here to get your copy!

Interested in learning how to build a creative business from the ground up? Click here.