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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 October 13, 2020

      10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

      10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

      “How do I change my life?” If you’re asking this question, remember that the one constant thing in our life is change. The more we resist it, the tougher our life becomes. Instead of avoiding it, ask how you can change your life to work with the changes happening around you.

      We are surrounded by change, and it is the one thing that has the most dramatic impact on our lives. There is no avoiding it because it will find you, challenge you, and force you to reconsider how you live your life.

      Change can come into our lives as a result of a crisis, choice, or chance. In any situation, we are all faced with having to make a choice – do we make the change or not?

      We cannot avoid the unexpected events in our lives. What we can control is how we choose to respond to them. It is our power of choice that enables us to activate positive change in our lives.

      Acting on our power of choice provides us with more opportunity to change our lives for the better. The more opportunities we create to change our lives, the more fulfilled and happier our lives become.

      If you’re wondering how to change your life, here are 10 things that you can do to get started.

      1. Find Meaning

      Spend some time trying to sort out what is important in your life and why it is important.

      What is it that you want to achieve in your life? What are your dreams? What makes your happy?

      Your meaning in life gives you purpose and sets the direction of how you want to live your life. Without meaning, you will spend the rest of your life wandering aimlessly with no direction, focus, or purpose.

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      If you’re not sure where to begin your search for meaning, check out this article.

      2. Create a Dream Board

      When we were children, we would daydream all the time. We were skilled at dreaming and visualizing what we would be when we grew up. We believed that anything was possible.

      As we grew into adults, we lost our ability to dream. Our dreams became hidden once we started to feel like achieving our dreams was impossible.

      A dream board is a great way for you to start believing in your own dreams again. Seeing your dreams every day on a dream board brings them life. It will also act as a daily reminder to refocus your energy and direct it toward what you really want to achieve.

      3. Set Goals

      Once you know what is important in your life and what your dream life looks like in the long run, you need to take action and set your long-term, medium, and short-term goals. Acting on these goals will enable you to achieve your dreams and change your life[1].

      Set goals when you want to change your life.

        Remember that your goals may change. Always be flexible with setting and achieving your goals as things in life change, and your goals need to reflect these changes. It’s the small steps that you take that create the momentum when you’re learning how to change your life.

        4. Let Go of Regrets

        Regrets will only hold you back in life. If you spend all your time thinking about the past, you will miss the present and the future.

        You cannot change what you did or did not do in the past, so let it go. The only thing you have control over now is how you choose to live your present and future life. Each time you experience a negative thought about your past, challenge it.

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        If you want to have some fun and visualize letting go of your regrets, try writing down each regret on a piece of paper and then burying it in your backyard or burning it in a bonfire with friends.

        5. Do Something That Scares You

        This is all about you choosing to step out of your comfort zone and see limitations from a different perspective.

        Public speaking is one of the most frightening things anyone can do. I was petrified of public speaking; however, I knew that I wanted to be a motivational speaker. So I joined Toast Masters to overcome my fear of public speaking.

        My first speech was terrible. My knees were knocking, I broke out in a sweat, and I couldn’t stop shaking. But I did it, and the feeling of completing the speech was better than I ever expected. I chose to keep going, and now I earn a living as a motivational speaker.

        Make a list of scary things that you would like to do but are too afraid to. Start small, put a plan in place, and then go do them. Never stop doing scary things if you genuinely want to avoid complacency and comfort and change your life.

        6. Start Living a Well-Balanced Life

        Our health does not remain the same. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual state changes as we get older. What we can control, however, is how we feed our minds and our bodies.

        Living a balanced and healthy life builds our resilience to the physical changes of our body. Exercise is the best way in which we can attain a positive and optimistic attitude toward life.

        Living a healthy, well-balanced life with lots of exercise is a lifestyle choice that will give you a happier and more fulfilled life. Exercise is an incredibly powerful tool that will improve your life and help you feel good.

        What kind of exercise is best? One recent study found that patients with mild to moderate depression experienced similar decreases in symptoms regardless of whether they participated in light, moderate, or vigorous exercise groups[2]. The bottom line: just get moving.

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        If you’re wondering how to ensure a well-balance life, take a look at this guide: The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

        7. Face Your Fears

        It’s easy to ignore our fears and hope that they will go away. Unfortunately, it does not work like that.

        If you want to change your life, learn to master your fears so they can’t control you any longer. Whether it’s a fear of failure, loneliness, or the unknown, it can stop you from living your life to the fullest. We know when our fears are controlling our lives because we feel discontent and unfulfilled.

        Once we face our fears we take back our power to choose how we want to live our lives and when we do this we change our lives forever.

        Learn how to face your fears with this guide: How to Overcome Fear and Realize Your Potential (The Ultimate Guide)

        8. Accept Yourself

        The only person who is going to change your life is you! To create that change, you have to like yourself.

        There will be times in your life where you will face rejection, and there will be people who will not like you or your choices. Accepting who you are and loving yourself despite adversity helps you to move forward in your life.

        Find your courage, love yourself, and step out and do something crazy. Don’t worry about what anyone thinks or whether it is the right thing to do. If it feels right, act on it and go create the life you love.

        9. Live in the Moment

        Many of us tend to think that the grass is greener on the other side. Often, we get to the other side of the fence and find that this is not so.

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        The motivation to change our lives comes from our desire to be happy. We are often so busy focusing on our pursuit of happiness that we miss the joy of actually living in the moment.

        Our desire to have happiness in our lives is a desire of a future state, not of the present. We become so consumed with all our problems in the present that we miss the precious beauty of the moment.

        Sitting on the beach eating an ice-cream with your best friend is a moment of happiness. Appreciating and showing gratitude on a daily basis is experiencing happiness in the moment. Helping those in need brings us joy and happiness.

        This is what living your life in the moment is all about – don’t miss these moments because you are too busy focusing on your pursuit of happiness.

        If you want more tips for this, take a look at this article: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying

        10. Experience the Joy of Learning

        Each time you learn something new, you gain more knowledge, and with more knowledge comes more confidence.

        Learning new skills helps us to be more adaptable in new situations. It also encourages us to be more creative and innovative in our thinking, and we are, therefore, more comfortable with the unknown.

        Reading is a great way for us to learn. To fully embrace the joy of learning, pick up that novel you’ve heard so many people talking about. Once you find the genre that interests you most, devour as many pages as you can.

        The Bottom Line

        You have a choice to make as to how you want to change your life. Choosing to act on these 10 things will help you get started as you seek to improve various areas of your life. Go at it with a positive attitude and remember that change takes time. Life starts when you decide to change!

        More Tips to Help You Change Your Life

        Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Reach Out: Set goals like a boss
        [2] Training fast or slow? Exercise for depression: A randomized controlled trial

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