I was listening to an interview with Dax Shepard on The Tim Ferriss Show. Dax Shepard is an actor, director and podcast host. Shepard is very successful and interesting person. But I’m not writing the article to talk about Dax Shepard. I’m actually interested in something Shepard said on The Tim Ferriss Show. Shepard was telling a story about Howard Stern. Stern was on the radio and was in a bad mood. His co-host Robin called him out on this. And Sterns response was, “yeah I am cranky. Why am I cranky?” After analyzing what made him cranky, he realized that he became cranky after reading that Ashton Kutcher is now a billionaire. Yes, that’s billionaire with a “B”. If a person as successful and rich as Howard Stern can be envious of another person. What chance do the rest of us have?
This story from Shepard about Stern got me thinking about envy. It’s not a topic I’ve thought much on before. But I know I experience this emotion. I don’t feel this enough that it controls my life. Although, I think envy is an emotion that everyone feels, no matter how content you are. If I find a person with a very successful blog. Something I am trying to develop. I feel a small amount of envy for that person. It’s not to the point where it consumes me, but it’s certainty envy. I also know if I see a person with a job that I’d like I have. I also envy that person. It’s a natural thing, and I’m unsure it’s an emotion we can eliminate from our lives.
So how do we control this emotion? How to we ensure that envy do not control our life? In this article I will attempt to answer these questions. Here is a list of was to control envy in your life.
1. Envy is just fear.
The first step to controlling envy is to understand what envy is. And envy is just another form of fear. When you envy another person’s accomplishments or possessions. It’s your minds way of adapting to the fear you have of not obtaining your desires and wants. You envy a person with the career you want because you are scared you will never have that career. You envy a person in a healthy relationship because you are scared you will never have a healthy relationship. You envy the person with a lot of money because you are scared you will never accumulate that amount of money.
One thing to remember is when you obtain the things you desire you will still be afraid of losing them. You won’t lose this emotion; you will have a fear of losing what you gained. Nothing is perfect, no one’s relationship is perfect. There are healthy and unhealthy relationships. But not perfect. No career is perfect. There will always be that pain-in-the-ass person or project you will have to deal with.
This is something to consider when you envy a person. Nothing is perfect no matter how great it looks from the outside. I look at successful blogs and I sometimes I experience envy. They have the ability to work for themselves and have time to really enjoy life. This comes from a place of fear that my blog may never be a success but let’s analyse this. Are their lives of running a successful blog perfect? Absolutely not. Once your blog becomes a success you then have to answer to your readers. You now have people who want to read about your opinions and views on the world. You have a readership to answer to when you say something stupid. If my blog became successful, I would no longer be able to write the things I want. I may be required to address topics other people want. And I may not have the creative freedom I have now.
This is all very hypothetical. If my blog becomes a success, it’ll be from my opinions and views. And not what other people want me to write. Although going through a small analysis helps to address envy for what it is. Another form of fear.
2. Be content with your life.
This is much easier said than done. As humans living in the 21st century, we are surrounding by other people’s lives. Whether this is through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or even reading this blog. We are constantly having other people’s lives shoved in our faces. It is hard to be content with your status in life and not try to, “keep up with the Kardashians.” Yes, I just referred the Kardashians.
It is easy to promote disconnecting from the world and deleting all your social media apps. But I’m not going to tell people to do this. If everyone did this, it would benefit the world. Although social medias ability to distribute mass information in a short amount of time is remarkable. Instead of deleting your social media apps just limit your amount of time spent on them. If you sit for a full day scrolling through Facebook looking at all the fun things other people do. You’re probably going to feel pretty shitty about your life. And you may feel envy towards others.
Let’s look at social media for what it is. The ability for people to share information with large amounts of people in a short period of time. What people generally share the happy moments in life. They don’t share the hardships they face or the struggles they are having. That is the main thing to keep in mind when you are scrolling through Facebook. It’s just a screen shot of one happy moment or a moment made to look happy.
In order to be content with your life. Truly appreciate your happy moments. Don’t worry about what other people are doing in their lives. I’m not saying to lose your motivation and abandon your goals. What I am saying is to stay on your path and trust in your system. Don’t follow the trends of other. Create your own trends.
3. Understand where your envy is coming from.
Above I talked about envy coming from a place of fear. Which is completely true. But in order to control your envy. You need to completely understand what is triggering envy in your life. Is it your fear or not achieving your goals? Or does it come from something more complicated? To work through some of these things, you may need to spend some time with your thoughts. Or talk to a therapist.
For most people envy is an emotion that overcomes you for a small amount of time then goes away. But for other it can consume their lives. It can dictate every decision they make. If you are making decisions from a place of envy. I can guarantee you are not making the best decisions.
Envy comes from a particular place in everyone. In myself it comes from the fear of not reaching my goals. But in all honesty does it really matter if your reach your goals? What you’ll appreciate in the end is the journey it took to reach your goals. The result isn’t as fun as the journey. This is why many lottery winners or trust-fund-babies are either unhappy or lose their money. It’s because there was no journey to appreciation their possessions and wealth.
Slow down appreciate your journey and understand the source of your envy.
4. Practice gratefulness.
One way to control envy is to practice gratefulness. Many people do this through the act of prayer. Where they thank a divine for what they have in life. This can also be helpful for having a sense of where you are in life. And understanding that your current circumstances are not as bad as you think.
The way I express gratefulness is through journaling. My journaling process is basically spewing random thoughts on paper. I do have a system with my journaling, where I go through a certain process every time, I open the book. Although when I get to the freestyling part of my journaling process this is where I practice gratefulness. You can make some interpersonal discovery in these pages. Not only can you discover things about yourself, you can also practice gratefulness.
Some people do this by writing down three things they are grateful for that day. Others like to do this in a long form process. Where they give detailed segments of what they are grateful for. If you are just beginning your journey of practicing gratefulness. I suggest you start by writing down one thing you are grateful for per day. It’s hard to be grumpy and cranky when you are grateful for the life you have.
I was listening to a book or podcast. I wish I could remember who said this or where it came from. But the premise was when you come in contact with a person you tell yourself you are grateful for that person. Don’t go around saying this out loud to people. You may get some strange reactions. The idea is it is hard to be upset and mad with people if you feel grateful for them. Even if you dislike someone the act of just saying I am grateful for you. Can change the interactions you have with them.
5. Understand the people you envy.
So why would you want to understand the people you envy? You just want what they have right? That is one way to look at things. You just want what another person has and let that consume you. Or you can actually use this to your advantage. You can actually study the people you are jealous or envious of. You can understand how they got to the position in life you want. You can actually use the emotion you are feeling as a source of power. Using it as a driving force in pursing your ambitions.
Everyone has a person that they look up too. You either know them on a personal level, or you know of them. If you know of them, they may be a famous person. If this is the case, there will be a lot of reference material out there on that person. Detailing their habits and path to achieving success. You can emulate this to achieve your own version of success.
If you actually have a personal relationship with the person you envy. You can have a conservation with the person and learn how they achieved their position in life. Most people love to share their wisdom and knowledge. There is no point in being successful if you can’t share the secrets of how to achieve this.
The emotion of envy alone is completely useless and can even be destructive. Although if you use envy in a way to understand the people you admire. It can be an aid in pursuing your goals.
Hopefully, this article gave you some insight into envy and how you can control envy in your life. It is an emotion that everyone has and one that if used correctly can be an aid in your professional and personal pursuits. If you would like to hear more from me, subscribe to my website or check me out on Instagram @the_52_book_challenge. Check back next week for my next post.