My least favorite human trait is envy. That’s not to say that I never feel it myself. Of course, I sometimes look at more successful people and wish things had gone better for me. Typically, however, I don’t dwell on coveting other people’s lives, and I try not to resent anyone else’s achievements. This is because I don’t believe that life is a zero sum game.
Back when my writing career was on an upward trajectory, many other writers within my circle of interaction would envy the small measures of success I had. Some would openly grumble when I did something good. Others would mutter behind my back (sometimes those remarks would get back to me). However, the ones who said those things wouldn’t attend as many conventions as I would, and when they did, they rarely would remain at the sales table as long as I did. They rarely hustled for as many radio/podcast/blog interviews. They rarely made as many sacrifices.
That’s my issue with envy. Most of the time, when someone is jealous of someone else’s good fortune, they desire the fruitful harvest, but they aren’t willing to plow the field and hoe the rows to get there. And in my experience, virtually every single successful person has worked damned hard to achieve what they have.
In terms of books, I never believed that I was in direct competition with other writers. Readers read as many good books as they can find, so I was in competition with myself to craft the best story I could compose. The same is true for my landscaping and tree business. No one business could possibly handle every job out there, so I’m not really competing with anyone except the expectations of my customers. If they are happy, I will get more work. It’s that simple.
Too many people seem to be jealous that they weren’t born a trust fund baby, able to lounge on the French Riviera and sip mimosas for brunch every day. And those people never seem content with their own journey, their own personal competitions. Would it be nice to have a bottomless well of cash? Yes and no. Sure, money can provide a lot of material comforts, but it doesn’t create internal contentedness. The wealthiest people I know are never really happy. Something is always missing from their lives. Happiness comes from recognizing the blessings you already possess and appreciating them.
Once you make that mental switch, from envying others to appreciating your own bounty, you can begin to savor each day as a new opportunity to accomplish something. And some truly cool things can begin to happen for you.
That’s all for now.