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Last Updated on February 28, 2018

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.

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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.

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        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:

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          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.

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          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.

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          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

          Why Giving up Is Not an Option (And How to Stay Motivated)

          Why Giving up Is Not an Option (And How to Stay Motivated)

          We all get them – those feelings of doubt, fear, lack of self-confidence and lack of self-belief. Whatever it is we want to achieve in life, no matter how much we want it, there will always be times when you hit a challenging period, your motivation hits a wall and you feel like giving up.

          When difficult times do stop you in your tracks, you need a way to push through, learn and understand what it is that’s truly demotivating you, what your mindset is telling you about the way you deal with challenges and coming out the other side a strong, successful person.

          Video Summary

          In this article you’ll learn that tough times make even the most motivated person consider giving up and this is completely normal. That despite the overwhelming feeling of wanting to just give up, it’s actually the most important time not to.

          What makes you want to give up easily

          Identifying the reasons why giving up seems like the best option is so important. There are many reasons why people want to give up and each is driven by different motivations. However, there are a few human instincts that come into play here.

          • Mistaking lessons for failure: Not being able to see the roadblock for the lesson it is and keep going anyway.
          • The outcome is more important than the journey: Putting more emphasis on the end result and dismissing the importance of how you’re getting to the end goal and growing along the way.
          • Seeing the failure before it’s even happened: Self-sabotaging yourself by creating the thought that it just won’t happen. This is usually down to limiting beliefs and lack of self-belief.
          • Lack of discipline: Realizing that achieving your dream won’t just fall into your lap within a few weeks but will actually take hard work and determination.
          • Not adjusting to changes: Not embracing changes in direction, the need to tweak ideas or finding things evolve differently to how you originally imagined it and taking it as a sign it’s not meant to work out, are showing you that you’re not open to changes and the natural evolution to something even more amazing.

          People often say, the moment they almost decided to give up was the moment just before they had a breakthrough. While demotivation, failure and giving up feels horrible, there’s a reason for this; it’s because you’re giving up on something that deep down you know is possible. 

          Why you should think twice about giving up

          The power lies with your mindset and shifting this is key to keeping up the motivation you need when the going gets tough. This is why it’s important to realize why you shouldn’t give in and give up.

          Instant success is a myth

          It is a generation of instant gratification which creates the illusion that everyone needs what they want. People look at other successful people and assume they got overnight success but in reality it took hard work and a lot of failing to get where they did. Most never see the journey but only the destination, and they fall in love with this idea that they don’t need to work hard to get it.

          Understand this is a myth. Don’t be deterred by this because actually the journey is where the magic happens and makes your end goal ever more sweet.

          A different approach maybe needed

          People judge themselves so harshly and assume that they are just not capable if they seem to be failing at something they want. It could simply be resolved by trying a different approach.

          People are often so focused on the end goal and believe there’s just one or two ways to get there. In fact there may be a hundred more avenues that their mind isn’t opening up to.

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          Open up and change your perspective. Are there other ways you can do it that feels better to you?

          You’ll always wonder ‘what if’

          That feeling of regret can hit you hard. What if I’d just stuck with it? I could have achieved it by now. What if I hadn’t given up, how different my life would be?

          While regret is the number one thing you shouldn’t waste your time doing, before you quit your dream just imagine how your life could transform and where you could be in a year, two years or five years.

          Don’t give your future self the chance to become regretful because of the one decision you make in the present moment.

          You could be quitting right before your success

          Many times, when people give up, they’re actually just a step away from success like this:

            The toughest times are a precursor to a major breakthrough to success. Think of it as being tested just to make sure this is exactly what you want.

            Decide yes, I still want this more than ever! You’re pretty much saying yep, give it to me now I deserve this after all I’ve done and this is usually the time it happens. Keep going! It’s all about trust that it’s going to work out.

            It’ll happen again and again

            Do you find yourself quitting things a lot?  By default, your habitual mindsets and thought patterns play out over and over again throughout your life if you don’t identify and change them. Don’t think, ‘I’ll have another go in a year’s time’ because you are really likely to repeat exactly the same pattern again.

            It’s important to sit down with yourself and identify why you have a tendency to give up. This may feel uncomfortable and you may feel resistance to doing the process. But once you actually work through your limiting beliefs, they can be released really quickly and help you to remove mental obstacles you didn’t know were stopping you.

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            Struggle does not equate to failure

            We’ve been led to believe en mass that struggle is something to be ashamed of. It’s somehow a negative representation of our core character and ability to move through the world. I’m here to tell you it’s not. Never think of hard times as failure. In fact, just take failure out of your vocabulary. Stop caring about what others think and just know and believe you are capable of getting through it and coming out the other end.

            Struggle actually builds character. It’s there to serve you – to help you learn something you’ll need to use later on. Stop assuming struggle is negative but see it as a blessing on your road to great success.

            How to stay motivated

            The thing people tend to forget when all they want to do is give up is that failure doesn’t fix anything. Maybe for a moment you’ll feel relief because you no longer have to face that challenge, but the satisfaction will be fleeting.

            Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, drinking, or any kind of bad habits; or whether you’re trying to achieve a goal; the misery you were experiencing will be back, one way or another if you choose to give up at the most difficult time.

            The real challenge you’re experiencing in that moment is your own weakness manifesting in a physical form. When you accept that you aren’t worthy or good enough, that’s the mind set you will keep.

            No matter what challenge you are facing (be it work or play) you will struggle with maintaining your optimism, dedication and will power because you haven’t addressed the real issue: yourself.

            Imagine the Great Challenge as a big rock in front of you.

              If you choose to give up, you work around the stone just to go around it.

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                Yet the fastest way to get over it is to break this big rock and go right through it.

                  It’s the same with your weaknesses. You could continue to adjust your life to fit your fears (i.e. no longer job-hunting because you’ve accepted you will always fail), or you could keep sending out applications and calling to follow up and schedule interviews.

                  No matter how great the challenge is, breaking it down is a must.

                  In order to truly stay motivated, no matter how great the challenge is, you’ve got to learn to break the Great Challenge down.

                    To truly overcome your weakness, you need break down the big rock into smaller pieces and deal with the small stones piece by piece.

                      Right now it may seem impossible. It may seem like this is the hardest thing you will ever go through. But remember how often your threshold changes.

                      Below are some tips that can help you take those first steps in keeping your chin up and truly facing the difficult choices in your life:

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                      1. Figure out what you lack

                      No matter what the challenge you’re facing may be, there’s a reason it’s challenging to you. If it’s a job, why is it you aren’t getting hired? Go back through the job listings and skills required and find the common thread your resume doesn’t have. Is it not listed because you don’t have it? If so, work on doing something to give you that skill. Be it an online course or a volunteer project, do something to help push you closer to the “perfect candidate.”

                      2. Be patient with yourself

                      No one becomes a CEO overnight. If you have big dreams, you’re going to have to do big work to accomplish them. It’s okay to take time figuring out the best way to proceed, but it’s not okay to walk away because it’s challenging.

                      3. Be proud of yourself for every small win

                      Have you ever noticed how a small mistake can weigh on you for days? Whether or not you categorize yourself as a dramatic person doesn’t matter when it comes to the guilt we so often put upon ourselves. But when we make small strides in achieving our goal(s), we never seem to give ourselves much respect.

                      When we fail to pat ourselves on the back for little victories, it decreases our motivation and makes it much harder to achieve big goals.[1]

                      4. Remember that you aren’t the first to feel this way

                      When we face difficult choices or events in our lives, we often forget that we are not the first/only/last to experience this. Everyone faces hard decisions – be it deciding to end a relationship, changing careers, moving to a different place and leaving friends behind. We all go through it.

                      So don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends or family for a sounding board. In some cases, they may even be able to offer you advice you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

                      5. Know that you will grow as a person just from going through it

                      We build character through those hard times. The old cliche, “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” is true. When you go through something challenging, you learn from it, regardless of the outcome. Recognize the opportunities for learning and personal development.

                      6. Remember that you have choices

                      No matter how hard the challenge you’re facing may be, one of the best things you can focus on is that you have choices. Only you can decide how you handle something and the steps you take. More so, only you can decide how you take the next step.

                      You have the power to stand in your own way and to get out of it. Allow yourself to stay motivated by choosing to be stay motivated.

                      Choose to see obstacles as lessons. Ask yourself, what is this showing me? What is it bringing up for me? In most cases, they’re there to point you in a direction you’ve previously not considered. Trust in this and keep going.

                      Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

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