“It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.”― Aeschylus
Envy is best defined as a resentful emotion that “occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement or possession and wishes that the other lacked it.”
I had quite a reaction to this definition when I first read it out loud. As I read the words I wondered if I ever really felt this strongly towards another human being. As I admitted that the answer to this question was YES, I began to ask myself, where do these feelings come from and how can one learn to use envy as a motivator rather than a distractor?
Envy often leers its ugly head when we perceive that we are lacking something in our lives that someone else has. As human beings I think it is easy for individuals to feel envious of other people at one point or another. When we get this sense we tend to look at our own lives with dissatisfaction and thus project our feelings of unhappiness and resentment on the person we would like to compare to. As we focus our energy to think negative thoughts about the other person we lose sight of our own unique abilities, characteristics and accomplishments. By feeding into envy we allow ourselves to be pulled further away from our own potential for success.
So how do we reverse the negative effects of envy to motivate us to be better? Here are some helpful tips to combat the harmful side effects of envy.
- Recognize and embrace your own individuality
- Learn to adopt the mindset that the success of others DOES NOT negate your own.
- Look to those you admire for inspiration. Appreciate and Emulate.
- Acknowledge the origin of your envy and use it to motivate you. Instead of letting envy distract you, let your drive to be better motivate you.
- Break the habit of making comparisons. Why waste your time comparing yourself to others? There is no better person to do the job of being you than you.
- Stay focused. Only you can ensure your own happiness.
- Enhance your skill set. Learning doesn’t stop the minute you graduate school. Learn from those around you and seek guidance from the people you want to emulate.
- Determine a plan of action. How can I be better? Organizing ones plan of action is the first step to achieving the things you want. Be realistic and strategic
- Acknowledge your limitations and learn to adapt. Determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie and make them work for you.
- Give credit where credit is due. Those who succeed have put in the work.
- Give it your best and you will never feel disappointed.
You are a unique individual with unique abilities and characteristics. There is no other person that is exactly the same as you. When you learn to be content with yourself and with the uniqueness you contribute to this world then and only then will you be truly happy.
“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” Friedrich Nietzche
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Friedrich Nietzche
-Ambition In The City