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The Cost of Envy

The Cost of Envy

In our competitive environment today, it’s very easy to become envious of others’ successes. In the startup field, there are always a few phenomenal individuals who bloom quickly in their respective industries. I know of one that produced an app that quickly gained 20 million users, and another that won several outstanding business awards and garnered lots of attention from the media. Another small startup quickly grew to have 200 employees.

When a colleague outperforms you, a friend has a bustling social life, or when someone has a seemingly perfect relationship, it is easy to turn to resentment.[1] Most of the time, we don’t admit to these feelings, but the green-eyed monster lurks beneath the surface.

Whether or not we’d like to admit it, we’ve all felt jealous of someone else in the past.

Competitive and jealous feelings are an adaptive strategy. Humans are naturally inclined to compare to others because it was essential to outperform others in order to survive.[2]

While it seems natural to become envious or resentful of others, the feeling does more harm than good.

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Envy Costs Your Entire Mind

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    Envy interferes with people’s ability to think and act. Instead of working on attaining a high level of success, it focuses a person’s energy on what they lack.[3] An envious person is blind to their own progress since their only aim is to have what someone else already has. Without benchmarks for their progress, envious individuals quickly lose their motivation altogether.

    Those who worry about the final outcomes that others experience don’t think about the journey that their competitors had to take to reach that level of success.[4] Envious people are blind to their own strengths, and they’re unable to see the weaknesses of rivals.

    If you spend your whole life envying others because you think they are more efficient, more easily promoted, or better at solving problems, you’ll never become better. A person who wastes time worrying about others’ successes will not be able to see his or her own potential. Even when the envious person succeeds, he or she will likely still be so focused on the other person that there is little cause for celebration. The vicious cycle continues, and the envious individual never feels satisfied.

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    The reality is that there will always be someone smarter, better, or stronger. Enviousness condemns people to lead lives in which they constantly hope to have more. The green-eyed monster can never be satisfied. Intrinsic motivation for success yields better outcomes than resentment of others’ accomplishments.

    Cut the Chord and Stop Depending on Envy

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      I understand that even the most altruistic and optimistic among us may be tempted to envy others from time to time. When I face envy, I revisit my purpose and desire to succeed. I find motivation through grounding myself in my vision.

      When I first started Lifehack, it was a struggle. This was during a time when the web was becoming exponentially popular each day, and lots of new companies were popping up everywhere to fill in the space.  During that time I heard about a startup close by that quickly grew to fill a huge office. Their building had four floors, a fancy layout, a big canteen, and a rec room with a pool and a dartboard. Almost immediately I thought, “Wow! That sounds cool. I wish I could have those things too. It must be nice.” I was impressed, but started to have that uncomfortable feeling comparing myself to this suddenly successful startup.

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      I could have allowed this feeling to fester, but instead I turned inward to remember what was important to me. I reminded myself that I am most interested in creating an environment that boosts productivity. Anything that doesn’t increase productivity is superfluous, and could actually create distractions.

      Then, I thought about the goals of my work. I want to create a product that has a positive influence on others. It doesn’t matter whether my office space seems cool. What is truly important is how the work that we do in these offices can change lives.

      My team doesn’t need all those bells and whistles to create a fun work environment. My team members are fun and creative all on their own. If I spent all my time worrying about how big their offices were, I’d be upset with myself for not being able to offer them what that other startup has. I’d be too busy worrying about my feelings of guilt to push my mission forward.

      When I focus on my aspirations and work to improve myself, it brings me closer to achieving my mission. Knowing what I really want is the best motivation, and it wards off envy better than vain attempts to have what everyone else has. There’s just no reason for me to envy what others have because those things don’t align with my vision for this company.

      Freeing myself from the control of envy has liberated me from unrealistic and counter-productive desires. I can see the progress I’ve made as well as the areas in which I’d like to grow, and I allow my work to stand on its own merit instead of constantly comparing it to the work of others.

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      Not only is freeing oneself of envy critical for staying focused on what is important, it also makes life much more pleasant. Being able to applaud another person’s success without having a negative reaction has led to more opportunities and partnerships than if that success had created an adversarial relationship.

      When you start to covet the success of others, realign yourself with your vision, and recognize that we are all on a journey to become the greatest versions of ourselves.

      Featured photo credit: chibird via chibird.com

      Reference

      [1] Emotional Competency: Envy
      [2] Psychology Today: Envy: The Emotion Kept Secret
      [3] Huffpost: How to Keep Jealousy and Envy From Ruining Your Life
      [4] Fast Company: How To Turn Your Career Envy Into Motivation

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      Leon Ho

      Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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      Last Updated on December 10, 2019

      How to Be Patient and Take Charge of Your Life

      How to Be Patient and Take Charge of Your Life

      When I googled the meaning of patience, it said:

      “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

      I have always struggled to be patient in my life. Even though I know that when I am able to be patient, I always get a better result. Being patient is quite a simple concept to apply but for some reason, it can be so difficult to put into practice.

      Practising patience helps you to better manage the curveballs that life throws at you. Patience also brings calmness, optimism, hope and confidence to your life.

      “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” — John Quincy Adams

      The key message is quite clear – when you practise patience, you are more likely to lead a successful and happy life.

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      In this article, you will learn why being patient is good for you, and how to be patient to take better control of your life.

      Why Being Patient Is Good for You

      Patience is a great way to exercise self-control. When you are patient you are more likely to take charge of your life.

      Here are three key benefits (there are many more) that practising the art of patience can bring to your life:

      Better Decision Making

      By learning patience, you will become better at making decisions. Patience gives you breathing space and therefore you are more comfortable with taking the time to assess difficult situations and reflect on how you wish to proceed.

      You also develop more self- confidence and know that if you rush into making a decision it will not end well for you. The chance of making a big mistake is higher if your decision is made in haste.

      A Well Balanced Life

      By becoming more patient, you will greatly reduce the stress in your life.

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      Because you are more self-aware, you have a better understanding of what makes you happy and you will tend to focus on doing the things that bring you joy. The result of this is that you become more aware of how to live your life in balance rather than constantly have to fight fires.

      Better Relationships

      By becoming more patient, you are more understanding, open and flexible towards others’ mistakes and shortcomings. As a result, you are able to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships.

      Patience does not come easily to many of us, especially when we live in a world of constant disruption and change. Patience is a mindset and it is not something that comes overnight. If you truly want to be a more patient person, you do have to be prepared to do the work. Embracing patience in your life is part of a life journey and therefor you must be willing to be in it for the long haul.

      If you can accept that you are okay with stepping out of your comfort zone and that developing a patient perspective will not come instantly, then you are ready to embrace patience into your life.

      So what can you do to become more patient and take control of your life?

      How to Be More Patient

      Outlined below are 3 practical techniques you can apply right now into your life that will help you be more patient and take charge of your life.

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      1. Understand What Triggers Your Feelings Of Impatience

      The opposite of patience is impatience. Everyone has experienced the feeling of impatience many times in life – in fact, you can’t escape it!

      For you to become more patient, it is important that you understand what triggers your feelings of impatience. What is it that you think about or feel right before you lose it? Once you know what triggers you, then you can work on using calming exercises to help you better manage those feelings of impatience when they start to build up.

      Making yourself wait before you react, and practising deep breathing exercises are great techniques to help you manage those surging feelings of impatience. Counting to 100 under your breath is another technique to help you WAIT before you react.

      2. Stop Doing Things That Are Not Important

      We can get easily distracted and stressed when we are doing things that are not really important and are taking up a huge amount of time. One way of removing stress is to stop doing things that create more stress for you.

      Take a few minutes out at the end of your day and reflect on the tasks you have done. Write these tasks down and then write down the tasks you have to do tomorrow.

      Patience is about having a more positive and reflective perspective in life, so look at each of these tasks and decide which are top priorities for tomorrow and which tasks can wait for a few days. Then go do the important tasks. If you consistently practise this technique, you will slowly take back control over your life.

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      3. Work on Changing Your Attitude

      A person who is patient is able to assess situations from a more positive perspective. They tend to accept a difficult situation as it is and will not fight it or avoid it. They will work with it and try to work on a solution that will enable them to move forward.

      Patience is all about perspective and how you look at situations. If you miss your bus or are running late for a meeting and stuck in traffic, you have the choice about how you react. A patient person will work on putting a positive spin to the situation and try to reduce the tension that potentially could potentially build up.

      Having a more impatient perspective on life is not going to serve you well. Impatience will block you from living life where you are in control.

      Techniques that you could use that will help you have a more positive outlook on life are:

      • Visualization. Try to step ahead of the problem. Visualize yourself facing the problem and how you dealt with it and achieved positive outcomes.
      • Get active and choose activities that will help you release the stress and tension you are feeling. There are many things you can do such as yoga, walking, breathing exercises, and meditation etc. Choose activities that bring you peace of mind and commit to doing these activities on a regular basis.

      Final Thoughts

      Practising patience in your life will enable you to have more freedom of choice and as a result, have more control of your life.

      If you commit to the journey of living a patient life, the rewards that you will reap will be unbelievable. Who wouldn’t want to live a flourishing life where you are in charge?

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      Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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