Every moment you spend being jealous is a moment wasted.
We don’t have much time in this world. The most successful and renowned individuals have often commented later in life how surprisingly fast it all went.
You don’t have time to be jealous.
If you constantly look to the actions of others, you rarely act like yourself. Your values and behavior have a harder time aligning, making you unhappy and empty.
“Personal incongruency is what causes so much of our pain. Not being you will destroy you.” -Tim Denning
Instead of wasting away in mediocrity playing the comparison game, choose to spend that time working on yourself instead.
I once heard being jealous and resentful is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. I thought that was an eerily accurate description.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard on this topic was four simple words:
“Stay in your lane.”
It doesn’t matter how much faster they’re going. It doesn’t matter how much faster you’re going. If you keep looking at other lanes, you’re going to crash.
Focus on you. Learn all you can. Experiment, fail, discover what works.
Soon, you’ll build momentum. And one day, you’ll look around you, and marvel at just how damn fast you’re going.
Cut out jealousy. Spend all your spare time learning and growing.
“If your lifestyle does not add to your healing, it will subtract from it.” -Benjamin Foley
I Struggle With Jealousy
I struggle with jealousy. Not always, but sometimes.
I used to be jealous a lot back in the day. A big thing for me was seeing other guys with attractive girlfriends. Why can’t I get that attention? I’d ask myself bitterly.
Even now, I look at other writers who are doing better than me. I get insecure and scared. Why aren’t I as successful as them? I ask myself.
I lash out and criticize them to numb my insecurity,
- They’re just special because they’re a “best selling author.”
- They get special privileges. That’s why everyone loves them.
- The system helps them, not me.
- They just know the right people. The world ain’t fair, huh?
But all being jealous does is make me feel worse — more insecure and more scared. Worse still, this resentment and jealousy drains precious energy and thought space I could have used to write great content or help someone.
Jealousy and resentment doesn’t work.
Focusing on “beating others” doesn’t work.
Worrying about what others are doing, or how much better than seem than you, doesn’t work.
Focusing on your process works.
“Many people think in terms of ‘I have to do what my colleague/neighbor/family member is doing’ instead of ‘I have to do what’s best for me.’” -Grant Cardone
Only Low-Performers Criticize, Gossip, and Complain
“Successful, happy, well-emotionally-balanced people don’t have time to shit on somebody else.” -Sean Stephenson
Criticizing, complaining, and gossiping is exhausting.
I used to be the worst at this. I was a huge office gossip. Back at my old corporate job, I spent more energy watching for someone to make an awkward slip-up so I could secretly talk behind their back than actually working! It was stupid, and I regret every time I did it.
Top performers and individuals with enormous success don’t have time to trash-talk others. Of course, many do (even some nation’s Presidents), but it’s still energy they wasted on their critics that could have been spent evolving and succeeding.
“Criticizing others wastes energy we could be using to grow.” David Kadavy, Love Your Work podcast
Only low performers continue to waste energy criticizing others.
The world sets you up to do this, and it’s your responsibility to stop. “‘Celebrity Said Thing’ is 90 percent of media news stories these days,” wrote sports columnist Justin Verrier. Nowadays, music, politics, the news, even sports are founded on what some celebrity said.
It doesn’t matter. It’s mindless gossip that won’t matter tomorrow, or even the next few hours. As is the case with most gossip.
Criticism is a favorite scapegoat of many people; most people would rather criticize a teacher than actually learn what they’re teaching.
World-class performers don’t get caught up in these, and neither should you.If you want to stop wasting energy and operate at peak levels, stop complaining. Stop gossiping.
It’s only draining your energy you could be using to become more successful.
“All around you is an environment that is trying to pull you down to Second-Class Street.” -David Schwartz
What Happens When You Stop Being Jealous?
I’ve been working on ignoring others around me. If they’re more successful than me, great — it might hurt my ego, but I can still put my head down and work.
When I manage to let go of my jealousy and resentment, I find that I have renewed energy to be more creative and focused. So weird — when I stop worrying about others, I can focus more on myself!
When you choose to not be jealous, you realize that there isn’t any competition — it’s just you, and doing your best. It becomes a game: how many people can you help? How can you be just a little better than you were the day before?
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.” -Ernest Hemingway
When you choose to not be jealous, you realize that all the mind games about the “competition” and what they’re doing was just silly. It’s not about that. It was never about that.
I’ve been reading a ton of autobiographies. Many of the world’s most famous and successful people dealt with jealousy on their rise to fame.
- Kevin Hart focused heavily on what other comics and comedians were doing around him.
- Bryan Cranston focused on how he could beat the competition in auditions.
- Anthony Bourdain focused on being better than any other chef around him.
- Leslie Odom Jr. focused on being the veteran in his acting classes and how much more experienced he was than his amateur classmates.
But when all these people focused on others, their results were always the same — negativity, failure, frustration. It didn’t work.
It was only when they stopped worrying about the outcome and started focusing on their own process — simply doing their best — that they started to see huge results.
Focus on your process, not the outcome.
“Every day, check these 4 boxes: Have I improved 1% on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health?” -James Altucher
Time You Spent Being Jealous of Others is Time They Spent Working & Learning
“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” -Hal Elrod
You need to learn a lot of skills on the road to mastery. Whatever you want to become — CEO, podcaster, comedian, juggler, artist — you need to learn a ton of skills to get there.
Time you spend being jealous of others’ success is time they spent working, learning, and growing in their craft.
This is why most people will remain in mediocrity — most people would rather complain that others have it better than actually doing the work.
If you want to achieve success, you need to focus on learning and growing, not entertainment, distraction, or jealousy.
Most people are distracted right now.
They’re distracted while they’re at work. They’re distracted when they’re with family and friends.
They’re distracted at the gym, on their commute, and even in the shower.
The mediocre majority will continue going through life this way, never experiencing the fullness of a life filled with deep focus and purpose.
Most people don’t prioritize learning and creating. They don’t care enough about any efforts to invest in their personal development and growth.
Entertainment is more important. Most people have replaced achieving their life dreams and goals with TV, partying, and social media.
Their life is characterized by entertainment and distraction, not learning and creating.
As a result, they don’t have close relationships. They’re stuck in jobs they hate. Their life is on the fast-track to disappointment, and they don’t know what to do.
If you don’t want to end up living a life of mediocrity, focus on learning and education. It’s the fastest way to become extraordinary, wealthy, and successful.
Jealousy never works.
It’s a low-frequency activity most commonly used by low-performers who get below-average results.
What happens when you stop being jealous?
You get a ton of renewed energy you can redirect into learning your craft, practicing new experiments, and gaining new skills.
Being jealous is tempting. It’s a great way to numb your pain, fear, and insecurity. I still do it a decent amount.
But every time I sense myself getting jealous and criticizing those successful people around me, I stop and tell myself — it’s OK. I’m learning and growing. My time would be better spent learning a new skill than complaining.
In the words of Seth Godin:
“If I fail more than you, I win.”
Choose to learn, grow, and develop your skills while everyone else is stuck where they are, complaining about those passing them up.