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How a Little Jealousy Can Help You Grow

How a Little Jealousy Can Help You Grow

When the green-eyed monster rears its head, we usually think it’s a bad thing. Jealousy is typically seen as a negative. It means you are immature, self-centered, unappreciative of what you have. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad thing all the time–it might help you grow!

1. It guides you.

Let’s say you’re jealous of your friend’s promotion. Maybe that’s an indication that you also want to pursue a higher level position, but it took your jealousy to make you see that. There are all sorts of things that we discover about ourselves based on our emotions. Sometimes it takes a certain kind of feeling to make you realize what you wanted all along.

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2. You’ll work harder.

Since jealousy can make you realize what you want, it’ll also act as a great motivator. In order to get what you want, you’ll work extra hard. Anytime you feel like giving up or slacking off, jealousy will be there to get you back on track to getting what you want. It’s like dangling a prize just out of your reach; eventually you’ll reach it, as long as you keep following after.

3. It will remind you of past desires.

Often, we forget about the dreams of our past. If you’re ever feeling a twinge of envy at someone else’s accomplishments, it can remind of you of a long-forgotten desire. The fact that you have feelings about it at all might be an indicator that it’s time to revisit that dream. Take it as a good opportunity to reminisce and make that dream finally come true.

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4. It might surprise you.

Being jealous might teach you a thing or two about yourself. If you get jealous about something that you’ve never been interested in, that can be an indicator that you should look into it. I remember in elementary school being jealous that my friend could shoot a free throw, even though I had never shown any interest in basketball at all. I promptly joined a local team and had my dad set up a basketball hoop in my back yard. You never know what a little jealousy might reveal about yourself.

5. It can serve as a goal.

Everyone works harder when there’s something to gain from it. Channel that jealousy into an attainable goal. This can be great motivation to get you what you want.

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6. It’s humbling.

The level of envy you feel might take you by surprise. If that’s the case, it might be time to reevaluate your feelings and aspirations. If you’ve worked hard and gotten to where you wanted to get, then why are you jealous? That emotion might serve as a good reminder to be thankful for what you do have.

7. You can channel it into a positive emotion.

If you’re jealous of a friend’s accomplishment, you’re obviously impressed by it. Try taking that jealousy and turning it into pride for your friend for achieving something great. It’s funny how quickly you can channel your feelings into different emotions if you just put your mind to it.

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8. You’ll be grateful.

Jealousy means you’re an ambitious person, and that’s good. If you envy what others have or accomplish, then you’ll always be striving for more. Count your lucky stars that you’re such a go-getter.

9. You’re human.

Jealousy is one of the most common emotions out there. While it might seem negative to some people, feeling jealous means that you’re connected to those around you and that you have the capacity to have strong emotional feelings about something. It’s completely natural to feel jealous, so use that to your advantage when you can, and remember that everyone feels envy at some point too.

Featured photo credit: Reach Out/stuartpilbrow via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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