It’s understandable if you’re the kind of person who finds it difficult to be happy for others’ success. It’s also stupid. Here are six truths that will help you see the error of your jealousy.
1. Realize that success isn’t a zero-sum game
We tend to see others’ success as an impediment to our own. That’s how it works in the animal kingdom—one lion must lose for another to win. So we blindly assume that’s how it works for us.
If another’s success truly gets in your way, it would be best for you to live in a society of losers. But you don’t want to live in a society of losers, otherwise you would move to Alabama to get ahead.
2. It’s good to be associated with successful people
It’s common to feel jealous for a friend or family member’s success. And the closer the successful person is to us, the more likely we are to feel jealous—sibling rivalry, and so forth. However, the next best thing to being successful is being affiliated with someone who is successful. If your brother is a millionaire, then you’re a millionaire by proxy. This is at least the way people will see you.
3. Use their success as inspiration
We’ve all seen too many Coen brothers movies so we forget that success is inspiring. Let others’ success make you feel better—let success demonstrate what’s possible for you.
4. Being jealous makes you look insecure, so don’t be insecure
When you’re bitter toward the success of others, people will tell you that you’re an asshole. But they’re just being nice. You’re not an asshole—you’re insecure, which is the beta male version of being an asshole.
5. Take charge of your own success
It’s natural to be happy for others’ success when you have your own thing going on. If you ever do feel jelly, take that as a sign it’s time to put the bong down and make something happen.
6. Learn from others’ success
We’re often told that we learn more from failure than success. This is a lie to make people who are failures feel better about themselves. The truth is that success teaches us a lot. Others’ success teaches us a lot, too. If somebody else is a success and you’re not, there are volumes of information in that. Don’t be blind to it just because you’d rather rationalize your failure.
Being happy for others’ success is often seen as blind optimism, as if it’s only possible to be happy for others if you’re a self-help zombie. But being happy for somebody else has nothing to do with being blind to reality and everything to do with seeing reality for what it is.