Jealousy and envy are like the evil cousins that linger around all too often. Everyone knows their behaviour well, and when we hear their names we get a bitter taste in our mouths. Their presence prevents us from performing at our peak, and yet even the kindest among us are guilty of becoming too closely acquainted with them.
Here are 5 things I have learned about jealousy and envy that, when applied, could transform our world to a more dazzling place where everyone can win.
1) Success looks different for everyone; therefore there is room for every person to thrive.
One person’s achieving does not limit yours. It is everyone’s own responsibility to become his or her best self. Your best friend living life at the pinnacle of her potential will look much different from you when you are doing the equivalent, even if you have similar goals. Help her climb her own mountaintop while you reach for yours.
What if you share the same aspiration as someone else? Well, chances are the person who achieves it first is going to be the one who works harder. Venture resolutely after what you want, and if he beats you to it, commend him, because he probably chased it down with more focus and intensity than you did. Don’t be jealous. Be realistic when you look at the effort you put in.
Still, when you look at that person’s life in its entirety – his dream will likely look dissimilar to yours. There is space for each of you to have everything you desire.
A quick note on those who have had their success “handed to them” or for whom it is just “genetic.” You show me one elite performer (and I mean elite) about whom this is true, and I will listen. The best in the world have had to work to get there. Even if they “knew someone” to get to where they are, they need to continually prove themselves to maintain their success, and if they don’t, they will quickly fall. It may be true that you have a more difficult route to your dreams than others, but you are squandering your focus if you are busy comparing your challenges to someone else’s. And besides, it is the struggle that makes us strong – in the end, he who struggles most wins most.
A spot in the most gorgeous mosaic that is a world where everyone is approaching their full potential is left blank every time someone fails to climb closer to their capabilities – don’t hold people (yourself included) back.
And remember, your biggest rival is probably a lot more like you than you think.
“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
2) Being jealous of others robs you of getting your own results.
Robin Sharma states that the difference between elite achievers and the ordinary is this: those who accomplish extraordinary things have developed a monomaniacal focus on their vision. How can you be monomaniacally focused if you are occupied with being envious of those who excel?
Create a vision for your own life that is so striking it brings tears to your eyes, and then chase hard after that image every day. You will be so overjoyed by realizing your own results you will not even consider being anything other than ecstatic when you see others doing the same, and your inner dream life will become your outer world so quickly that envy will become a laughable thought.
The only life you should aspire to have is the one of your dreams, not the one someone else has created. Unearth and invent your own happiness and applaud those who have succeeded at doing the same.
3) Celebrate others’ success and allow their achievements to fuel your own.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who despise others’ success because they believe it casts a shadow on their own achievements, and those who celebrate others’ victories and see them as inspiring flames that they can praise and use to fuel their growth. Become the second type. As with many things, all it takes is a conscious shift in perspective.
4) If you are the one others are jealous of, you’re doing things right (but you are probably too tied up with making things happen to notice them anyway).
When you start running resolutely towards your dreams, the people in your life will swing from being your toughest critics to your biggest fans and vice versa.
Forget the critics; don’t allow them the satisfaction of slowing you down – they are people who were too afraid to live their own dreams, so they try to trample on yours as well.
Appreciate the people who are your biggest fans when you’re on top, but spend your time with those who have supported your efforts from day one and believed in your dreams when they were still only a question mark to you yourself. These are the people who can see you at your weakest point and will still help you become your best. These are the ears and voices you can count on when you doubt yourself and wonder if your efforts are paying off. These are the allies who will help you live your purpose on this planet. They understand your humanity but see your genius.
Block out the naysayers. Tune into your cheering section. Surround yourself with steadfast supporters.
But what will be even more effective? Become so engrossed with chasing your dream that you have tunnel vision and the only voice you hear is your own, because only you can determine what you really want from life, and only you can make it a reality.
6) The most successful people in the world are those who have been the biggest help to those around them.
Use your job or business to serve others. The most successful businesses become just that by putting their clients needs first. The most respected speaker becomes acclaimed by inspiring society. The most popular gym transforms member’s lives by providing them with paramount services in fitness, nutrition, and well-being.
Help the most people. You will end up the most helped.
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer
Imagine a world where each and every person is living out her or his full potential.
Eradicate Envy. Celebrate success.
A more vibrant, thriving world, and version of you awaits.
Photo Credit: Amanda Ubell of Dare to Dream Photography.
Photographed: Brydan Zbytovsky and Stephen Wolff