The Problem with Envy

By | October 15, 2014

Kool Derby

Having competitive fire is necessary for those wishing to excel. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, generate more sales, or separate ourselves from the pack, you need to be uncomfortable with your current situation. In other words, you can’t be happy sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to happen in your favor. You need to get in the game!

Far too many people today complain when others do well. “I can’t believe she’s taking that trip to Paris! Why is she leaving her kids behind? That’s ridiculous!” Instead of criticizing others for enjoying the good things in life, you should learn from them. What is their secret? It’s far better to know how to make something positive happen than to be envious of it.

Envy Shuts You Down

When you are envious, you stop thinking about self-improvement because you are more focused on what others are doing, and less about how you can get on the right track. The fact is that others will make decisions they feel are right for them, regardless of what you think.

I recently learned about this conversation:

DAN: You know that Claudia is going to get that promotion to manage the Hong Kong office.

ALICE: I did hear that she was first in line. I really can’t believe that she’s up for this promotion. Look … she’s only been here about 18 months, and you and I have been here for more than five years.

DAN: I heard someone say that she looks like the “corporate” type. She’s the trophy they want in Asia. I’m sure she will fall short of expectations. It’s a big mistake, and time will quickly expose her.

ALICE: That’s true! I guess if I lost about 20 lbs. and put on one of those cutesy business suits I would also impress the leadership team. It’s about the look around here. I bring so much more to the table. Claudia has the right look, but has zero skills to manage this big job. The more I talk about, the more upset I get.

DAN: I’m more than upset! I don’t know anything about the “cutesy business suit,” but I do know that I should be first in line for that Hong Kong position. I know that region well, and I’m ready to try something new. I’m sure my wife and kids would enjoy China. You’re right … the more we talk about it, the more angry and resentful I am about the whole situation.

ALICE: What should we do about it?

DAN: I think we should wish her as much bad luck as possible. I can tell you that I’m not going to bust my butt around here anymore. I’m doing the bare minimum. At 5 p.m., I will no longer answer any emails, voicemails, or texts. After this unfair appointment to Claudia, I’m drawing the line!

ALICE: I agree. If they want Claudia for the job, they can forget about me going the extra mile!

This conversation between Dan and Alice epitomizes the negative impact of envy. Instead of learning what it takes to earn a top international assignment, they complain about the situation. As long as they are bitter, their creative minds are closed, which means they are going nowhere … and fast.

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