Editor’s Note: I met Trey at last year’s 2FGR Run for Down Syndrome and was quickly drawn to his sincerity and authenticity. Trey founded Mosaic Life Creative and is the publisher of a weekly newsletter entitled Live By Design. Here, Trey shares openly about his trumpets and struggles with failure, validation, comparison, and more. Recently, Trey addressed the topic of self-doubt, and I sought his permission to share it with you. It is not a running article, per se, but comparison and self-doubt are something most of us occasionally face 

By Trey Kauffman

This won’t be the first or last time I write about self-doubt. Every single one of us faces it, the problem is some try their best to hide it. There’s very little Instagram appeal in showing the struggles which led to a shiny finished product. It’s one of the many reasons I believe Instagram is far more toxic than TikTok, but I digress.

It’s impossible for me to count the number of times I’ve tried convincing myself to quit. This week alone I’ve told myself I should stop trying to learn how to swim because I’m not progressing fast enough, I should quit publishing this newsletter because it’s not good enough, and I should quit trying to build a lifestyle brand around Mosaic Life because it’ll never be as successful as similar brands I admire.

What it boils down to, why I decide to stick with these goals, is an honest reminder about why I began pursuing them in the first place. At the surface, I may have convinced myself I want to be like others (Michael Phelps, Mark Manson, or Good Good Golf respectively), but then I dig deeper and remind myself of what Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I began each of these challenges because I enjoy doing hard things and learning (sometimes failing) along the way. As frustrating as it may be, when I make incremental progress (and on the rare occasion when progress flows more freely), I feel fulfilled. Never mind the praise or attention that hitches a ride along with it.

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