Advertising
Advertising

Envy Used to Be a Good Thing, Why We Don’t Need It Any More?

Envy Used to Be a Good Thing, Why We Don’t Need It Any More?

Jealousy and envy is part of human nature, a trait that everyone has.

An experiment about envy was conducted by researchers from Oxford and Warwick Universities.[1] In the study, researchers created an online game that gave people the chance to win money. People who won were presented with the option to spend some of their winnings to burn the winnings of others. This at first sounds like a strange option. Yet during the experiment, 2/3 of the players chose to burn others winnings.

Their envy was so bad that, it was not enough for them to do well, other people had to do badly. Their victory had to be conclusive, and they were paradoxically willing to lose money to ensure this. In the end, everyone lost out.

If a person wasn’t envious of someone they considered more successful, they may not aspire to be like them and as a result, may not push themselves to greater success. However, make no mistake, envy is always destructive.

Envy Was for Survival, but Now It’s for Savage

It has been argued that envy originated as an early survival instinct. When humans lived as hunter-gatherers millions of years ago, survival and social advancement was based on competition. In such a world, it is easy to imagine that a person would have only judged themselves in direct comparison to others.

Advertising

The caveman would have been constantly on the lookout for rivals, or those in possession of things they desired. When such a person was identified, the caveman would have either eliminated that rival, or found a way to beat them in other ways. Not unlike how a wolf can become the alpha of his clan by beating them in other ways.

    But the fact is, humans no longer operate like this. We do not survive by eliminating our rivals anymore. Putting others down in order to raise yourself up is not the good way to succeed. While taking others down is irrational, it can be illegal too. As such we have outlived the need for envy.

      Envy makes us blind and unreasonable, think about it, have you ever seen a post on facebook by someone you know that makes it seem like their lives are different than in reality? Maybe it’s a flashy car a friend has just bought himself, or maybe it’s another friend traveling around the world. All of their lives seem perfect.

      Advertising

        But the truth is, you never really know the real life behind each of these facebook posts. That friend who has a flashy car could be having loads of struggles that you don’t see, maybe he just wants attention from others yet he doesn’t really have true friends to share his thoughts with.

          You are assuming that they have a great life based on what they have showed others in a virtual world. Envy makes you admire another person’s life and believe that others are having better lives than yours. It’s like giving another person compliment in a way that make yourself feel bad.

          A Wise Man’s Take on Envy

          Next time when you feel like envy is popping up in your head, try these steps:

          Advertising

          1. Stop Believing the Perfect Picture

          You’re not other people. You don’t really know the struggles behind that flashy car, that cool vacation, or that expensive house. For example, that friend who’s got himself a nice car doesn’t have real friends, that’s very sad.

          That “perfect” picture in our mind is purely imaginative. When we stop idealizing what others are experiencing, we will not be blinded by what we wee with our eyes.

          2. Reframe the Picture

          Ask yourself, the things that others have, do you really need them?

          Can you imagine how expensive it is to maintain a house like that? What’s the point of having nine or more rooms when they only have a family of three? Most of their money probably goes into merely keeping their house clean and in good condition. Ultimately, a house like that might not suit you.

          What about that car? Sure it looks nice, it’s probably comfortable and fast. But it’s pretty impractical for driving around a busy city. It might not be very fuel efficient. So right there, the two most appealing parts of the picture become less impressive and actually pretty useless.

          Advertising

          Relate what you see to your own life, picture yourself being in that situation and what you really need to take care of. Then you’ll see the downside of those things too and realize that you don’t really need them.

          3. Look Away from the Picture and Look at Yourself

          It sounds like a cliche, but it’s always a good idea to be thankful for what you have. Look at the people and things you’ve already had and how these things have satisfied your needs.

          You might not think your car isn’t fancy, but it takes you to where you want to go. You might want a bigger house, but your current one could be cosy, warm and comfortable.

          Envy will only make you sadder. It doesn’t help you to make yourself better and happier. So when envy is hitting you again, stop, take a look at yourself and appreciate what you have.

          Reference

          More by this author

          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

          7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity 100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier 10 Best New Products That People Don’t Know About Book Summary: The Power of Habit in 2 Minutes 1 Minute Book Summary: How To Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less

          Trending in Mental Strength

          1 What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For? 2 Midlife Crisis for Women: How It Makes You a Better Person 3 How to Make Positive Changes And Start Living a Fulfilling Life 4 How to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life 5 What Is Self Awareness (And How to Increase Yours)

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on October 16, 2019

          What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For?

          What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For?

          In society today, knowing your purpose of life and what you should live for has become the major criteria for measuring how happy your life is. There is a lot of pressure to know your purpose in life, becuase if you don’t know, then the chances of you living a fulfiling and happy life are nil.

          This is absolute rubbish.

          Ralph Emerson’s states in his quote that our purpose in life has nothing to do with happiness but more to do with how well we lived our lives.

          “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

          That is the secret recipe to living a happy and fulfilling life.

          A Story About My Friend John

          My best friend John suddenly passed away a few weeks ago. John was a person who lived a purposeful life that was centred on his commitment and love for his family and serving others.

          Advertising

          John did not seek out his purpose in life. He didn’t read personal development books on how to find your life purpose and he never asked the question “what should I live for?” He just knew what gave him joy and that was to serve his family and the people who were in his life.

          John was that person that Ralph Emerson was referring to in his quote: a man who showed compassion and kindness and who lived a full life with purpose and commitment.

          John was not a famous man who had achieved world recognition for his amazing feats. He was my long-time friend, a truly great man who to me lived his life purpose to the fullest.

          Not all of us are like John who just knew what his purpose in life was and then just did it. Some of us need guidance as to how we can start this journey…

          3 Steps To Finding Your Life Purpose

          Here are 3 very simple steps that if you follow will help you to attain purpose and fulfilment in life.

          1. Disconnect from Social Media

          With social media, we are relentlessly exposed to thousands of people who present a life where they seem to be living incredibly fulfilled and successful lives with purpose.

          Advertising

          It seems to be for many people that figuring out your life purpose today is complicated and a drawn out process that can take forever. This is in fact not true at all.

          On social media, you only see the fabulous and fun parts of peoples lives, you do not see their true life that can be as challenging and as complicated as yours. No one escapes the realities of life – those life curveballs that come from nowhere.

          If you are comparing your quality of life and your happiness with those people on social media, then you need to stop. You need to find your own measures of success as to what a fulfilled happy life means to you.

          Social Media will not give you what you are seeking when it comes to finding what it is that will bring joy to your life.

          When you are consistently experiencing joy in your life, you are living a purposeful life. You know what the kind of life you want to live that is important to you. Using other peoples experiences of joy on social media is not best way for you to determine your life purpose.

          2. Ask These 3 Key Questions to Define Your Life Purpose

          To start your journey to figuring out your purpose in life ask yourself these 3 key questions:

          Advertising

          • What is the legacy that I want to leave behind?
          • What will people say about me when I have gone?
          • What difference have I made to other peoples lives?

          The answers to these 3 questions will help you determine your purpose in life.

          Once you have defined these answers, the next step is for you is to take action and consistently demonstrate those qualities you believe are important for you to attain living a life with purpose and joy.

          3. Focus on the Specific Actions That Bring You Joy

          “You do not write your life with words. . . You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do” — Patrick Ness

          Discovering your purpose in life and what you should live for is the same for everyone in the world – rich or poor. Everyone has the opportunity to live life to the fullest. It is not complex, difficult or out of your reach.

          Finding your life purpose is very achievable. All you have to do is decide what it is that living a fulfilled happy life means to you and then you go do it. Go and be kind to others and live your life the best way you can every day.

          Acts of kindness, generosity, gratitude and love are the core actions of living a life with purpose. If you focus on these actions on a daily basis, you will be living your life with purpose. It is at this point that the feelings of happiness fill your life.

          Advertising

          The more you do for others, the more happy you will be.

          A Word of Warning

          When you are living your life with purpose, it does not mean that you will transform into living the life of an angel.

          Remember your reality – you will still have your faults, make huge mistakes, fail and have to navigate your way through the challenges that life throws at you.

          However, living a life with purpose and commitment builds your resilience and enables you to deal with life challenges from a place of strength and certainty.

          Your power of choice is the only thing that you have that enables you to live a life with purpose and joy. My friend John knew how to use his power of choice to the fullest. He chose to live a life with purpose and he knew what he had to do to bring joy into his life and to those people he loved – a very simple recipe to living life to the fullest.

          The journey to knowing your life purpose and living your life purpose is within your reach. You are the only person who can do it and you have control over how you want to live your life.

          Remember that nobody else does – it is all down to you. I suggest that you go do it now!

          More About Finding Your True Purpose

          Featured photo credit: Timothy Paul Smith via unsplash.com

          Read Next