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comparing yourself to others


Gifthorse

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I really don't do this anymore, but I think it is one of the worst things you can do to yourself as a guitar player or in life in general.

 

This is why. No matter who you are, you will always find someone who is doing something great that you don't do. Before I would see someone like that and be like, "god I suck!!" But in reality that guy would probably see things in my playing he doesn't do. I think it is hard to say better or worse in most situations, the perfection is in the moment.

 

Now instead of feeling like a dirtbutt when I see someone doing something I don't do, or want to do, I just realize I can do that too if I want to, in my own way.

 

It is all about finding your own uniqueness and sticking to it and not making negative emotions and thoughts with your attitude. You are already a perfect expression.

 

I know a guy who is a complete badass guitarist. In fact he comes off a bit cocky if you don't know him and how much respect he has for musicians and music. Everyone treats him like a rockstar, he told me "dude, some people think I think that I am 'all that'. Actually I do because to not think that is stupid and will make you a loser. He was like, "I have to constantly reinforce the fact of who I am, and I don't care if people interpret that as cocky."

 

Thats his path, everyone does it differently but comparing yourself to others is a dead end. It will only lead you back to yourself--after a long time of thinking you are nothing, but actually you are everything. I mean nothing and everything at the same time, you decide.

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I wrote an essay last year on the mediocrity of society. While that really has nothing to do with what you were talking about, its concluding remark that I made, I believe summarizes the way every person should think about personal growth and pride, especially with guitar. My comment was: "For a mans measure of worth is not his measure against what others think of him but his measure of what he thinks of himself."

 

By that, I live my life, and I would hope others begin to do the same. If we always go around settling for average, following trends, or expecting to always be the world's greatest, we'd all be constantly depressed and discouraged.

Shut up and play.
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I don't know, I think some level of comparison is actually helpful. If you see someone doing something (I'm talking musically here, but this can apply to any facet of life) better or more efficiently or whatever, why wouldn't you compare your approach to theirs and see if it can help you improve? Or why wouldn't you use someone else's ability as a gauge to measure where you are at a certain point? I'm very big on setting goals for myself musically and depending on the given goal I often compare myself to someone who I feel is better at a whatever aspect I'm after at the time. I don't despair or freak out if I'm not getting there. You make plans and when it's not going they way you'd like, you adjust your plans accordingly. To me comparisons help in doing this.

 

Paul

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100% Paul! Many here say music should not be competitive, I have never believed that. For me it has always be competitive, wining auditions, grabbing gigs, getting the best money for giggs. If that doesn't sound like fun to you, I can tell you that it is. Competition validates your hard work and dedication to your craft and the collective effort of your band. I have always set goals and usually those goals are matching or besting the accomplishments of other players. I thrive on competition and it drives me to do more, go further in my studies and gives me real life tangible goals to aspire too. It is the same in my professional life in engineering. When I was at the University I would watch and take notes of how other students did on exams (when they used to post the results) put a face to the marks and make sure I matched or surpassed them eventually. I love competition and I expect that others should feel the same way.
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Originally posted by pauldil:

I don't know, I think some level of comparison is actually helpful. If you see someone doing something (I'm talking musically here, but this can apply to any facet of life) better or more efficiently or whatever, why wouldn't you compare your approach to theirs and see if it can help you improve? Or why wouldn't you use someone else's ability as a gauge to measure where you are at a certain point? I'm very big on setting goals for myself musically and depending on the given goal I often compare myself to someone who I feel is better at a whatever aspect I'm after at the time. I don't despair or freak out if I'm not getting there. You make plans and when it's not going they way you'd like, you adjust your plans accordingly. To me comparisons help in doing this.

 

Paul

That's true so far as the goals you aspire to are reasonably in line with whom you are comparing yourself to.

 

If your goal is to develop a style comparable to George Benson, it's not particularly useful to compare yourself to Angus Young.

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I think competition is a prime motivator, at least it is for me. But in the end you still should recieve enjoyment from whatever you pursue. There are people who take competition and turn it into something bad, but how can you deny a basic human trait.

 

I like music and that is the main reason I took up guitar. But to say that I didn't practice harder when I saw someone play something I couldn't just isn't reality. If someone made fun of me it motivated me even more to be able to play better. I guess whats nice is that even if you can play well, you don't always have to prove it. Just play whats musically appropriate.

 

I have always compared myself to guitarists that are better than I am at something. I don't see this as a negative thing. It could be negative if I beat myself up over it, or deluded myself to think I am a better player than I really am. Sure I may never play as good as say Eric Johnson, but trying to has certainly made me play better. If a freind has a neat lick or a nice sound, I am going to try and copy it and maybe even take it a step further, not as a way to put him down, but just because it adds to my repetoire of things I can do. I guess I just don't understand or agree with the spirit of Gifthorses post. If he takes comparisons and competition badly then he has to have different motivations, but I think most of us use these competitive urges in a positive way.

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Originally posted by revolead:

Paul, I'm not disagreeing with comparison, I'm merely pointing out that if someone else's talent/life is your always your standard of measure that it is going to make life awfully hard and depressing.

Rev, I'm not sure that measuring yourself against the talent of another would automatically make life hard and depressing. There are too many factors to consider. I also feel that what others think of you does matter in as much as they can point out things you may not have noticed about yourself. We need feedback. Naturally, praise is easy. Critisicm is a little tougher, but to me the trick is to put the ego aside, assume positive intent from others and listen to criticism with an open mind. Of course that's much easier said than done :D !!

 

 

Originally posted by Billster:

That's true so far as the goals you aspire to are reasonably in line with whom you are comparing yourself to.

 

If your goal is to develop a style comparable to George Benson, it's not particularly useful to compare yourself to Angus Young.

Yes, of course not. You have to be realistic, specific and practical in your comparisons as in your goal-setting. Besides, I just can't see Benson playing an SG :D .

 

Paul

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Originally posted by ellwood:

100% Paul! Many here say music should not be competitive, I have never believed that. For me it has always be competitive, wining auditions, grabbing gigs, getting the best money for giggs. If that doesn't sound like fun to you, I can tell you that it is. Competition validates your hard work and dedication to your craft and the collective effort of your band. I have always set goals and usually those goals are matching or besting the accomplishments of other players. I thrive on competition and it drives me to do more, go further in my studies and gives me real life tangible goals to aspire too. It is the same in my professional life in engineering. When I was at the University I would watch and take notes of how other students did on exams (when they used to post the results) put a face to the marks and make sure I matched or surpassed them eventually. I love competition and I expect that others should feel the same way.

My biggest competition is time and time management. I don't worry too much about the other things. As long as I work on accomplishing my goals, my guitar playing/musicianship will improve.
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I for most of my guitaring career have measured myself against other guys who play and have always berated myslef for coming up in my view short of many other players mark. I have tried in the last few years to accept my talent level and do what i can do and just try and make something that sounds good to me and hopefully others no matter how simple or straight forward the playing may be. But to have a good idea of your level i think can be helpful so if for no other reason than you work on the next level above you so you can improve, if you tackle something way too technically demanding it can put you off playing on a permanent basis. i have always found improvement comes in small steps from one plateau to another, giant leaps are only in Police songs :D

You just gotta keep at it and enjoy it.

G

Love life, some twists and turns are more painful than others, but love life.....

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=592101

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Well, I guess more in the spirit of my remark. Say you go out to the store and you see a hot chick, but you are with your buddy who always gets tons of hot chix.

 

You are like, "well I would talk to her but my friend is taller, and much better looking than me and he has a porsche so she would probably rather be with him." Guess, what? Now she does.

 

I am not saying you shouldn't look at other guitarists and admire and learn from them. I mean NEGATIVE comparisons that leave you holding the bag. Like, God that guy never makes mistakes live. I always screw something up. Stuff like that only sneaks up on you and kicks your ass cuz guess what? YOu will make mistakes if you think like that.

 

My first comparison example is a good one. The guy could have had the hot chick feesably if he believed he could. But cuz he is so busy looking outside himself he convinced himself he isn't worthy so now he isn't.

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Gifthorse... is there something you'd like to share with us.. was it the hot chick?

 

Kiddddding =)

 

There's tonnes of great players on this forum that I listen to and outside of the forum and think to myself.. DAMN! I can do that, and I try and it sounds like crap.. So I move on and put it down I'm not experienced enough for that or just haven't retrained my techinque enough to accomplish that at this time. No sence beating myself up over it. just means if I want to play like "X" or "B" then I just need to rethink and try again. just cause you think someone is better for something doesn't make it so, everyone had to start somewhere before getting where/what they want. And if you sulk in a corner.. well then your just wasting it.

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i try to keep things in perspective.

when someone is in thier zone it is thier home turf.

i can see it as inspiring and whatnot.

i don't normally compare myself, but i do notice the differences compared to me.

what you play is only a part of it. what you have in your mind is also important.

i have seen guys do some fast stuff or seemingly technical stuff and when i spoke to them i discovered they were lacking in some knowledge and i had only witnessed a trained monkey experience.

ripping over a static riff or chord can look impressive but i get more inspired to see someone play intelligently and emotionally over a cool change they had written.

writing and the actual piece is more impressive to me personally.

i can also appreciate energy of performance.

everyone has holes in thier musicality, and you may not realise, but the one you are inspired by may also be inspired by you.

i don't worry much about what others think in most everything i do.

i have always been happy to be me.

all you have to do is see the things as they are.

rambling done.

Zan out. :freak:

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Originally posted by Guitarzan:

i try to keep things in perspective.

when someone is in thier zone it is thier home turf.

i can see it as inspiring and whatnot.

i don't normally compare myself, but i do notice the differences compared to me.

what you play is only a part of it. what you have in your mind is also important.

i have seen guys do some fast stuff or seemingly technical stuff and when i spoke to them i discovered they were lacking in some knowledge and i had only witnessed a trained monkey experience.

ripping over a static riff or chord can look impressive but i get more inspired to see someone play intelligently and emotionally over a cool change they had written.

writing and the actual piece is more impressive to me personally.

i can also appreciate energy of performance.

everyone has holes in thier musicality, and you may not realise, but the one you are inspired by may also be inspired by you.

i don't worry much about what others think in most everything i do.

i have always been happy to be me.

all you have to do is see the things as they are.

rambling done.

Zan out. :freak:

Ya know dude, you write really lyrically... Do you do it on purpose? :)
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Zan its a nice thought to say

"and you may not realise, but the one you are inspired by may also be inspired by you."

Thats a cool way to look at it, i am waiting to hear who I have inspired, the phone aint ringing :D

Nice one

G

Love life, some twists and turns are more painful than others, but love life.....

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=592101

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Well, there's healthy competition, and there's the evil, back-stabbing kind.

 

When I play chess, I'm looking to kick the other guy's tail, and he is mine. It's the nature of the game, and it doesn't hurt the other person - maybe their pride a little....

 

Re: music - well, I'm more of a collaborator than a competitor. But if the guitarist before me plays a cool solo, I will try to play an even better one - not so much as to outdo the guy - but aren't we supposed to inspire each other?

 

That's why I'd rather with people better than me than guys who are just starting out... even if I get a few less compliments! )(*#)*$# the compliments, give me a chance to be challenged and learn something!

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Originally posted by Trucks.Of.Love:

Originally posted by Guitarzan:

i try to keep things in perspective.

when someone is in thier zone it is thier home turf.

i can see it as inspiring and whatnot.

i don't normally compare myself, but i do notice the differences compared to me.

what you play is only a part of it. what you have in your mind is also important.

i have seen guys do some fast stuff or seemingly technical stuff and when i spoke to them i discovered they were lacking in some knowledge and i had only witnessed a trained monkey experience.

ripping over a static riff or chord can look impressive but i get more inspired to see someone play intelligently and emotionally over a cool change they had written.

writing and the actual piece is more impressive to me personally.

i can also appreciate energy of performance.

everyone has holes in thier musicality, and you may not realise, but the one you are inspired by may also be inspired by you.

i don't worry much about what others think in most everything i do.

i have always been happy to be me.

all you have to do is see the things as they are.

rambling done.

Zan out. :freak:

Ya know dude, you write really lyrically... Do you do it on purpose? :)
seriously?

i thought there was something wrong with my brain.

i actually didn't notice.

i didn't intend it , it is just the way my head works.

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Yeah Zan, Seriously. I dont think it'd be difficult to put most of your posts to music LOL :)

 

They have a kind of lyrical structure to them.. In a poetic i suppose 'rappish' kind of way. :)

 

If its the way your head works mate, you should get writing some songs!! (if you dont already that is)

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Obviously, if I see/hear someone doing something similar to what I do, I'll immediately have an opinion on how well I think they do it on a relative basis. Sometimes I dig what I hear, and that actually makes me happy--it's like finding out that there's someone else in the world with a similar mental disorder. And if I think they're doing it better than I do, well... hell... I'll gladly steal whatever ideas I can when they're not looking... or even when they are. By the time I'm done stealing and interpreting something, it's basically warped out to a point where it doesn't sound like the source anymore, anyway.

 

The way I see it, there aren't better players--there are simply challenges to for my own playing. I'm just trying to become more of what I am through life experience and exposure to different things.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Originally posted by Phil W:

To paraphrase bassist Mike Dimin:

 

"You will never play [insert name of your . . . hero]'s lines as well as he or she will. But take comfort, because your hero will never play your lines as well as you can."

I find that very interesting and profound, i really like that quote.

Never argue with an idiot. They'll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=810593

 

http://www.myspace.com/dandelavega

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The thoughts become the man.

 

I appreciate great players. There are many in this forum, where I live and everywhere.

 

I do stand in awe of many but I also know I have my own unique thing too offer also which I am perfectly happy with. So it is a perfect picture really.

 

As for the hot chick scenario? Who do you think gets the chick?

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Originally posted by ellwood:

love your playing! How does it feel to be a target on MY radar scope Mr.!!! :eek::D

Thanks Lee, and right back attcha!! :wave:

 

You're right Gifthorse, negative comparisons are not helpful. This whole comaprison thing is all in the attitude. I love playing with people who are more advanced than me because I learn so much, but I have also learned a great deal from people who are less advanced than me. There's a saying that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Among the infinite choice of reactions you can have to someone being better than you at something, you can choose to get bent out of shape, you could choose to just ignore it, or you could choose learn something from it, etc. ...the choices are yours :cool:

 

Paul

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I compare myself to players but realize that I am doing what I want. They are doing what they want. Thats the beauty. I just don't put up any limitations for myself. I don't tell myself I can't do stuff.

 

Like one of my buddies who grad from Berkely. A jazz guitar god. He told me flat out, "bruce you can't play over changes if you don't know the theory behind it, it is impossible unless you are one of the few prodigies in the last century."

 

I was like, BS I can do whatever I want. So he would work with me, teach me the standards and then we would trade solos. I could play over em. I just followed my ear and knew that I could do it. And I could. If I took his advice then I would have just given up. But I decided nobody is going to tell me what I can and can't do ESPECIALLY with my guitar.

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