Envy. It’s that thing that makes you annoyed anytime you see someone doing the very thing you long to do. Turn that envy into inspiration. Here’s how.
This week’s Inspire Me quote is from Chuck Swindoll:
“There is only one you… Don’t you dare change just because you’re outnumbered!”
Face it. We all love excellence, especially when it’s in ourselves. Seeing it on others, especially in an area we long for in ourselves but haven’t yet achieved, can stir up envy, however.
St. Thomas Aquinas once defined envy as “sorrow at another’s good.” We see their success and it calls our own into question. The business writer Michael Novak says, “Envy is so pervasive among the human race that in the Ten Commandments, under the name ‘covetousness,’ God forbade it seven times.”
When envy strikes, there are five truths to remember to help turn envy into inspiration:
- You’re the only one you need to beat. It’s the pursuit of better, not your standing compared to others that shows excellence.
- You’re not them. You’re different. Your calling is unique. It’s never seen before or will ever again. Be you; they are already taken.
- It’s not a zero-sum game. Their excellence does not diminish yours; or the need for your contribution to the world.
- You don’t need to be best. Best is rarely achievable and never sustainable. Engage in the relentless pursuit of progress rather than perfection (a form of striving to be the best).
- Gratitude transforms envy into inspiration. Seeing excellence in others informs you about what you desire in yourself, so be thankful for that insight. Their success can also stimulate your own creativity to build upon it.
This week’s Challenge Me:
Who do you envy? Write down the excellent things you see in what and how they do what they do. What can you imitate? BONUS: Write them a thank you note.
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:
- How mindset affects your next great beginning, Reinventure Me episode 4 on developing a learning mindset
- Has excellence got you down, Leary’s blog post on the need for your contribution no matter what you see in others.
- A quarter million words of inspiration, Leary’s blog post on CJ Lyon’s crazy writing output and how that affected him.
- The relentless pursuit of better, Leary’s blog post on why the pursuit to be the best is not such a bright idea.