Practice "Benign Envy" To Make Your Jealousy More Useful
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
I've never heard the phrase "benign envy" before.
“Benign envy” is when you see something that someone else has and know you could accomplish the same thing if you tried, but simply choose not to. Note, we’re not talking about belittling major accomplishments (“I could be President! It’s not that hard.”), but rather realistically saying “The only reason I don’t have that is because I choose to put my effort somewhere else.” This can do one of two things: it can either neutralize any negative effects of your jealousy, or it can motivate you to get to work.
I’m never going to be LeBron James. I’m not even going to try. And that’s okay. But research shows benign envy can give us the kick in the pants we need to get motivated. So next time you should feel good for someone but really don’t, ask yourself: Is this something I could achieve too? If it is, it might be a great motivator. And knowing you can get what they have kills the bad feelings.
Sometimes you might find that you really do want the thing that someone else has enough to go for it. Maybe other times you’ll decide it’s not worth replacing what you already have. You only have so many hours in the day, after all. However, envy isn’t always a bad motivator. It all depends on how you handle the feeling.
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