People are Going to Envy Your Success

Robert Terson

I was having a conversation with my dear friend Gary Hart (if you’re not following Gary, you should be. You can find him at his website or on Twitter at or at LinkedIn) and we got on the topic of envy. Gary waxed eloquently on the subject, which didn’t surprise me, because he’s one of the smartest guys I know. In a nutshell, he pretty much said that there are a number of—you should pardon the expression—experts in any field who are envious of their peers’ achievements—the success of their websites, books they’ve penned, lists they’ve been named to, and a whole lot more.

In Gary’s view, and I concur, these individuals suffer from the perspective of Scarcity, as opposed to seeing the world from the point of view of Abundance. They’re in competition with their peers to the point it drives them crazy to see a colleague receive accolades they desire for themselves. Anything a colleague receives recognition for becomes a thorn causing anguish, pain. They’re consumed by poisonous envy.

All this led me to thinking, if the experts who should know better are succumbing to envy, what about the rest of the population? Envy must be rampant, I thought. So I decided I needed to bring this to your attention—warn you that there are people in your circles of influence who deep down begrudge you your success; who will take from you as much as they can without returning the favor, because it just kills them to watch you succeed.

Here are some quotations re envy. Keep them in mind if you ever observe yourself feeling envious of someone else:

Harold Coffin: Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.

Eubie Blake: Never trust anyone who wants what you’ve got. Friend or no, envy is an overwhelming emotion.

Victor Hugo: The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.

Aeschylus: It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.

Jean Vanier: Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko: Envy is an insult to oneself.

Most of the time I tell you to focus on the other guy, not on yourself. This is the exception to that rule. In the context of envy, avoid focusing on the other guy; instead, keep the focus on yourself, on achieving what you desire. If someone else has done a better job than you have, use that to motivate yourself to rise to his level, but for Heaven’s sake, don’t be envious of the guy. That’s a complete waste of your time and energy. It’ll turn you into a pigmy, instead of the giant you’re striving to be.

And if you spot someone being envious of you, don’t be angry with the poor schmuck; simply pity his poor misdirected ass.


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