How To Get Motivated When You’re Jealous Of Other People’s Success

Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. -Anonymous

Jealousy! It can occupy so much of your mind that all other work comes crashing to a halt. Maybe someone got a promotion who didn’t deserve it. Maybe a colleague got picked to work on a project that you know you’re better suited for. Whatever the cause, the feeling is nearly inevitable — we will at some point be jealous of our coworkers’ successes. The only thing that matters is how you respond to that domineering emotion.

I suggest there are two ways to deal with this. The first is to try to cut jealousy out of your life completely, and the second is to let the feeling motivate you instead of cripple you. When you consider that jealousy is a universal human emotion experienced across all cultures, it’s a pretty tall order to try to get rid of it. That’s why I prefer the second method: to feel it honestly, but to let it motivate you towards doing the work of your life instead of finding yourself frozen by it.

Acknowledge jealousy as a tool for identifying exactly what you want. The only reason you’re gripped by the feeling is because you see someone else reaping the benefits of a situation you think yourself better deserving of. But the bubbly anger that pops up in response is a roadblock to being proactive about it. When you find yourself in the throes of jealousy, use that as a cue to clear your mind and set specific, achievable goals that might better position you for success.

Pay attention to the reality of what you’re actually jealous of. Think of the person you envy as a lab rat for the situation you hope to one day occupy. Does a new promotion mean working for an intolerable boss at all hours of night and day? Does a trip to some remote clime actually end up being fun and worth the effort? You have the benefit of learning from someone else’s experience by observing them to see if it’s truly worth jealousy in the first place.

Take action! Make a plan, write it down, and work on it every day. An old saying goes something to the effect of “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” Hopefully it won’t take you that long, but the sentiment behind it rings truer than ever: put yourself in favorable positions where you can shine time and time again, and people will notice.

Collaborate. Find ways to be useful or provide value to this person you’re jealous of. It puts you in close proximity to the situation you want for yourself, and I’d argue that it makes for good personal growth for yourself. The old Oscar Wilde quote seems relevant here: “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”