TRAP 5: “COMPARE AND COMPLAIN

YOU: (SECRETLY, INSIDE) “Maria is so good. Can I even compete with her brilliance/humor/presence? (I can’t.)”

ME: “It’s so difficult for us to see our own gifts. We are literally blind to our own genius. Our brains evolved to escape from tigers and bears. That’s how we survived for millions of years. So every time we saw a tiger, the adrenaline started pumping, and we remembered that terrible moment REALLY clearly. So we would stay alive. And now here we are, alive! But all those wonderful moments seeing a rainbow or watching the sunset are harder to remember, because we’re not built to focus on and remember what’s going well.

So now, there are fewer tigers hunting us, but our brains haven’t evolved to focus on what’s going well for us. Couple that with watching someone else tell a great story, and you get a comparison monster the size of a small island. Even if you all go on stage together, no one in the audience will be thinking the terrible thoughts you’re thinking. They’ll be thinking, “Wow, each performer is so unique in their own way! I love how Maria does that thing and how David does that other thing.”

Try imagining that what you’re feeling about Maria’s storytelling is what David feels about your storytelling. We each have our own unique medicine to share with the world, and we have no idea who we’re going to touch and how we’ll impact others’ lives. Try that thinking on. Get back to writing, or back on that stage, silly!”


Alicia Dattner

Comedian and Creatrix Alicia Dattner is an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning performer who loves to help others use the power of humor to transform their lives and write a new unfolding story for the world.

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