There is an old English proverb that says “Envy shoots at others and wounds itself.” This couldn’t be truer, yet most entrepreneurs can’t seem to fathom just how destructive envy and jealousy can actually be. Believe it or not, it can be one of the biggest factors preventing your own success!
Think about it -- when you see someone who is successful, or who has more than you do, there are two different ways in which you can react to that person’s success. One is constructive; the other does more harm than good to your personal goals. Problem is, most people pick the wrong way! They get jealous or become envious of that other person. Bad move!
Going Down, Baby
You may not realize it, but envy can stop you in your tracks. Think about it: the other person has something you want, your thought pattern makes you focus on that fact, and you start to feel bad. You end up investing your energy in thinking about all that they have and that you don’t.
Then you shift into an automatic defensive psychology, and start the self-talk about how they don’t deserve what they have. You tell yourself they are really jerks on the inside, and that people don’t like them, so they must be trying to fill that void.
Basically, you try to pull down the person you are jealous of. And, if you do it well enough in your mind, they seem to fall below your level, and you start to feel better about yourself again. It is these fleeting moments of feeling better that make people think that there must not be anything wrong with envy or jealousy. But they couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Feeling the Sting
The problem with envy is that it actually hurts you. It is something that keeps you from having a reason to strive onward. You lose your need to achieve whatever it is that you want; you saw it but then you went through a mind game of pulling your competition down, at least until you temporarily felt good. As a result, you don’t need to get better. You don’t need to strive.
The fix is to aspire to what you want. The next time you see someone else achieving what you want, don’t think about what they have, or why, or whether they deserve it. Instead, ask yourself what lessons you can learn in order to get those same things or reach a similar level of success. Ask yourself what you can learn from that person that you can use on your own path toward success.
Mind Your Thoughts
When you are alert for envious or jealous thoughts, you can identify them and quickly put them out of your mind. When you see someone that is successful and has a status, position or possession that you would like, try to focus on all the things that the person did to reach that point. Once the cloud of envy has moved aside, you can begin to identify those strategies that have contributed to that person’s success. That will be helpful to you on your own path to success!
Make it a point of pride never to envy anyone or anything again. If you have been indulging in envy or jealousy for a while, the change will take some practice. But stay mindful of how you react when you see someone’s success. Remind yourself that envy and jealousy will only slow you down on your path to success. Instead, work toward what you want, and learn from those who are already there. Ironically, if you simply ask for their help, they often can be your greatest teachers.