I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know how it happened — but when I’m measuring a persons success, I compare their achievements to similar things I have accomplished in life so far. I catch myself doing this often lately. Let’s say I’m at a conference, listening to a presentation. Occasionally the thoughts going through my head are: “Who is this person? Why does that person think it’s smart what they are saying? I know ten times more about that topic then they do! God, the shirt they are wearing is so 80s! How can they have more Twitter followers then I do? I’m the real expert on this, not them!”.
If I take a step back and think about it, I realise that something bad happened to me: I replaced to compare with to envy.
envy: ɛnvi, verb ‘desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable thing belonging to someone else’
What is it this person has, that I so profoundly desire and compare myself to? Well it must be something I’m failing at and my mind is making up excuses for — apparently. Instead of emulating or admiring the courage and dedication it takes to stand in front of a lot of people and actually present a topic in an understandable matter, all I do is envy how I could do it better. Damn, I even catch myself watching the sports program and thinking: I could run this distance faster if I was in shape. The thing is that I’m sitting on my couch — from a safe distance — my mouth full of chips, envying how Mr. Bolt has the dedication to train for this magnificent skill day in day out. Worst part: I’m not even going to the gym, to put money where my mouth is. Oh gosh, I’m such a bad runner anyway.
You get my point, right? If you sometimes feel the same, you should stop to compare, which automatically means stop to envy!
1. Start to be proud of your own accomplishments. All you’ve learnt in life so far, all the things you possess or value present a unique and invaluable achievement for — you guessed it — yourself. Be proud of that! Build up some confidence and see the things for what they really are. Be realistic about what you are able to do and know, assess it sanely.
2. Start to iterate. You can only get better at something or reach a goal if you constantly try to improve on it. Don’t brag, don’t criticise, don’t slack — start doing something about the desire to possess a certain quality. Only if you actively spend time refining yourself, you’ll get there. Envy won’t help.
3. Start to pay respect where its due! This is the fuel that keeps the engine running. Imagine someone walks up to you after you did a presentation (so you managed to get step one and step two done), they shake your hand and say: ‘That was a great presentation, thank you!’. Such a compliment or ‘them paying respect to you’ will motivate you beyond belief. You’ll be so stoked, that you’ll have enough fuel to give the first two steps another go and become more proud and refine yourself even further. Isn’t that awesome? And it makes everyone else more proud and better themselves too!
So I’ll admit it: Hi my name is Kristijan. I envy a lot. I’m doing it for some time now but I want to stop. I’m try to set this straight. You should try too.
How’s that for a belated New Years resolution?