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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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      Published on January 27, 2020

      30 Essential Core Values for Living the Life You Want

      30 Essential Core Values for Living the Life You Want

      The weather will always change. Technology will always change. Trends will always change. We will always change.

      In a world that is constantly evolving and taking new forms, it can be somewhat overwhelming trying to make sense of this thing called life.

      One of the things that rarely changes in this world though and what can provide a guiding light for you throughout your life is your core values. This article will provide you with a core values list of 30 incredible values to adopt and use when all else seems to be changing.

      What Are Core Values?

      Core values are principles or beliefs that you hold most dear and that are of central importance in your life. When everything around you is changing, when the world is difficult to understand, and when you are riding up and down the emotion rollercoaster, your core values will always be there for you.

      Why Are Core Values Important?

      Core values are important because they act like a compass to help you lead the amazing life that you want, no matter where you find yourself in this world.

      Not only that, having the right core values can improve your decision-making, your productivity, your achievements and perhaps most importantly, your ability to love and be loved. They’re kind of a big deal. And it isn’t just us saying this, studies[1] have shown core values to have a whole host of other benefits.

      30 Best Core Values to Live by

      You might already have a few core values in mind or in your heart which is great. If you need some more ideas or haven’t really thought about your core values until now, here are our 30 favourite core values that you can adopt right now.

      1. Acceptance

      The ability to accept what you can control and what you can’t control. Being able to understand that on some days you are the hammer, and other days you are the nail. With acceptance as a core value, you can build either way and be happy while doing it.

      2. Adaptability

      Life is going to throw you curve ball after curve ball and if you aren’t ready for them, you are going to strikeout. Your life and the life of those you surround yourself with are far too complex to confine yourself to one mould.

      Be adaptable and ready and willing to change when you need to.

      3. Awareness

      Awareness is one of the best core values that you can adopt. Period. Awareness means paying attention to yourself, to others, to the world around you, to emotions, to situations. It means being able to see everyone and everything clearly – most importantly yourself.

      4. Balance

      There are going to be times when you need to sprint in life, and other times when you are going to need to slow down. The yin and the yang.

      Balance is one of the most important core values in many ancient cultures because it reflects nature for what it truly is: perfectly balanced and able to bend, rather than break.

      5. Calmness

      As well as being a sublime state of mind, many people forget that calm is a simple decision to make.

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      You can be calm in any situation should you allow yourself to be. No amount of angry drivers, long queues or frustrating technology can penetrate you when you adopt calmness as a core value.

      6. Community

      Every one of us is a social creature, whether we believe it or not, and community has been a key core value for us as a species for thousands of years.

      We are hard-wired to socialize; to eat, drink, gossip, laugh, tell stories, share ideas, give and receive amongst ourselves. Community also enhances the effect of other core values on this list, such as creativity.[2]

      7. Compassion

      Compassion is taking the time to understand the suffering of others and hopefully, being able to do something about it. There is a lot of struggle and suffering that can be alleviated in the world; with a core value like compassion you might be able to do help your fellow humans in some meaningful way.

      8. Creativity

      With technology taking most of the administrative jobs, creative people are going to be leading us into the future.

      Someone who cherishes creativity is able to think up new and big ideas, see things that other people can’t and see the world around them through their own lens, not somebody else’s.

      9. Discipline

      Discipline will lead you to the life that you want, should you adopt it as a core value.

      “Discipline Equals Freedom” is a term popularised by ex-Navy Seal Jocko Willink, and what it means is that if you can be disciplined in the right things, you will be free in the right things too.

      Discipline to workout means more freedom in your body as you age. Discipline to save means more freedom with your time and money in the long-term. And so it goes…

      10. Empathy

      There is perhaps no greater value on this list that will connect you deeper to not just the closest people in your life but to complete strangers too.

      Practising empathy requires the understanding that other people have a nagging voice in their own head, just like you do. That they have a worldview different to yours based on their experiences. And that’s ok. It’s not easy to adopt empathy as a core value, but it is certainly worth it.

      11. Freedom

      Freedom comes in many forms and that is why it is one of the ultimate core values to have. The freedom to choose, freedom to speak, freedom to live on your own terms, freedom to love and be loved.

      If freedom becomes a core value of yours, watch how your life changes for the better.

      12. Gratitude

      Gratitude provides a powerful perspective shift whenever you feel yourself get into a rut.

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      You can become grateful for the big things like having shelter, food and great people in your life. You can also become grateful for the small things like the cup of coffee that you just drank or the soft sheets on your bed.

      13. Happiness

      Happiness is a powerful core value and is not just restricted to your own happiness but also friends and family.

      When happiness guides your decision-making rather than superficial things like money and status, you will find yourself in a much more satisfying position than if you chase other people’s idea of happiness.

      14. Health

      They say that a healthy man has a lot of dreams and wishes whereas a sick man only has one – to be able to get out of bed.

      Health is the precursor to every other core value on this list; if you don’t have your health, you can’t do much else until you do. Because of this, health has to be a core value in your life.

      15. Humility

      Humility

      is the antidote to arrogance and selfishness and is a value to adopt if you want to keep your feet firmly on the ground. It is said that you are never as good or as bad as people say you are.

      Humility recognizes this and keeps you moving towards your goal, no matter what anyone else says.

      16. Innovation

      The act of innovation involves taking one existing thing and making it better. Although images of whacky car designs and complicated technology can spring to mind when thinking about innovation, it doesn’t have to be that grandiose.

      Simply seeing something small and making it better in your own life is enough to make a world of difference.

      17. Knowledge

      Knowledge is power. Not power in the 14th-century medieval banker-sense but in the power to change your own life-sense.

      Knowledge about yourself, others and the world allows you to understand everything that you see a bit better. When you see things for what they are, you can act accordingly and get to where you want to be.

      18. Leadership

      It take guts, determination, confidence and humility to lead. All of these qualities are both rare and admirable and are the reason why leadership is such an excellent core value.

      The future is dark and unknown but also full of hidden treasures. We need someone to lead us, will it be you?

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      19. Love

      It can be argued that all of the core values on this list can be tied together by the one, all-encompassing value of Love.

      When you value love deeply and try to show it in everything that you do, you make your world and the world of others a much better place.

      20. Moderation

      Forget this diet, that diet, eating there, eating then, working out before coffee or always in the afternoon. It’s all noise that works for some people some of the time – moderation is the key.

      Not acting in moderation can also have some damaging consequences, especially for your health.[3] What works well for all people is everything in moderation.

      Of course, life should be fun too so even ‘everything in moderation’, should be in moderation.

      21. Peace

      Peace is another core value that takes years of practice to perfect. However, its rewards are boundless with both the journey and destination full of rewards.

      Peace enables clear decision-making, freedom in thoughts and actions as well as providing a deep understanding of the special life that you live.

      22. Purpose

      Purpose can be doubled up with ‘meaning’ as these are two values that provide the drive in any endeavour that you might pursue.

      Purpose is what gets you out of bed every morning, it is why you sacrifice what you sacrifice and often entails something bigger than yourself. If you don’t have a purpose, it is unlikely that you will find much meaning in your life.

      23. Responsibility

      Nobody likes having to take the dog on a walk, having to clean the dishes or do things that they are reluctantly responsible for. However, responsibility can actually be an awesome way to add meaning and value to your life.

      When other people depend on you and you fulfil your role as provider, not only are they better off but you get the satisfaction that comes along with it too.

      24. Service

      Similar to the responsibility point above, when you adopt service as a core value, you will have very little time to wallow in any self-pity, anxiety or existential angst because you will be busy making the world a better place.

      Funnily enough, by serving others, many people find that they themselves are internally served with feelings of satisfaction and contentment.

      25. Spirituality

      Of course, there is the importance of physical health, mental health and emotional health, but spiritual health is just as important.

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      Spirituality has nothing to do with religion, it simply means taking the time to listen to your body, to watch your thoughts, to connect with and appreciate the world and the universe that you find yourself in.

      26. Trust

      Trust is a core value on this list because it requires many other difficult skills that also help to develop you as a person.

      To be able to trust and be trusted, you need strong relationships, an ounce of risk, a healthy dose of vulnerability and a smidge of humility. All of this creates a recipe for a very positive life with trust at the centre.

      27. Understanding

      Understanding comes from a place of acceptance of what is, not what should be or could be. It is the ability to recognise someone else’s viewpoint without trying to change it. It is learning that it is useless to fight against the way the world is and other people are, and to learn to dance with them instead.

      28. Wealth

      Not in the monetary sense but in the ‘having everything that you need sense’. Someone who is truly wealthy possesses great relationships, plenty of freedom, a life filled with joy as well as many of the other values on this list.

      Adopt wealth as a core value and it will act as a magnet to other incredible things.

      29. Wisdom

      Contrary to popular belief, wisdom does not come with age but rather, experience. There are many young people with more wisdom than the oldest people that you know. What makes someone wise is their ability to see broadly and clearly, to use good judgement and to be decisive when necessary.

      Wisdom is something that we all should seek.

      30. Wonder

      The final value on this list is wonder and it is the ideal place to finish.

      Wonder is thinking about the possibility of what comes next, dreaming about how you and things could be better, pushing your own boundaries and what you think you are capable of each day.

      Wonder is practical dreaming, and you should start right away.

      Final Thoughts

      Now you have a good idea of some of the core values that you can adopt, it’s time to not only decide which ones you like the best but also integrate and use them in your daily life.

      Core values are designed to guide your decisions in your most difficult moments. Now you have everything you need to go and live the life that you want to live!

      More About Self-Discovery

      Featured photo credit: AndriyKo Podilnyk via unsplash.com

      Reference

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