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How to turn envy into a positive influence

A colleague just got a promotion or a college mate landed an excellent job. You appear happy for them but are consumed with envy. Don't allow that to happen, because it'll dampen your spirits and make you feel less confident. Learn how to overcome jealousy and use someone's success to forge ahead.

I love it when I can put down my thoughts, without having to research on a topic. And this is precisely one of those occasions. I have chosen a very contentious topic – jealousy or envy. Why jealousy, you might wonder. I'll be outright honest here; the inspiration came from recent forum threads that discussed envy linked to success. It had me thinking that envy is a common human trait; most of us succumb to it.

It is difficult to not be jealous of someone who is doing better than you. I am not saying that people don't genuinely feel pleased for a friend who is doing better than them. But, when your goals are the same and you're trying to climb the same ladder of success, then being left behind does have jealousy creeping in.

You can be pleased for a person, and still be resentful of their success and that can gnaw at you and destroy your ability to do things right. It can leave you consumed with bitterness.

It is normal to go through mixed emotions because let's face it, life is competitive, and it human nature to watch out for yourself. You cannot really be all enthusiastic about someone else's promotion or success when you were in the race too. It is bound to create some anxiety. Even if you don't show it on the surface, deep inside it must fester like a nasty wound. You must resent it.

But, no matter how reasonable your jealousy and anger is, it is unproductive and undeniably so. It does nothing to uplift you and the longer you let it fester; the worse you'll feel and behave. I am going to demonstrate ways through which you can get past your emotional state and actually be glad for someone else, and in the process propel your own growth.

Another's success is not your failure

You need to muse over a little thought – how do incidents of someone else's success impact you. If you ponder over it you'll realise that your aggravation is not just unfounded, but also needless. If you put everything into perspective you'll find that the other person's triumphs have no impact on you and what you do professionally.

The other person's success is not a measure of your failure, so don't view it as such. Their journey of success does not mean that you are sliding backwards.

Remember that their accomplishments are a result of their efforts and have nothing to do with you or them getting back at you. They worked for each of their achievements and did not have your defeat in mind. So, it's not about you. When you begin looking at the events being solely as the other person's story you'll begin to let go of your resentment and be happy for them.

Keep in mind that when anyone achieves success, it belongs to that person, and it does not equate to your failures. You are not in that frame. So, don't push yourself into the picture, let the focus be where it is meant to be.

If you want to make it about yourself, you have to put in some effort and make it count.

So, how do you do that?

Revive your dreams

It's not going to be easy; you're not going to just snap out of your miserable, self-pitying, loathsome self (note how ugly that sounds). You are trapped in a foul situation and it's going to take some effort on your part to walk out of it, feeling positive.

From your viewpoint things are gloomy; your career advancement is at stake. Instead, of wallowing in self-pity, why not use this setback to smarten your act. Refocus and revive the dreams that you had and stride forward, with all that you've got to offer.

It is a time for introspection – of your goals, your strengths, your preparedness and the changes that you'd bring into accomplishing your dreams. When you look at it from this angle, it is 'still' about you. But the difference is that the focus now is not that colleague who got a promotion, ahead of you, but on your own dreams. This little change in the way you view things changes a negative into a positive.

Begin strategising

Now that you know where you stand, work on a strategy to get where you want to be. Give yourself six months. Make a blueprint of how you'd achieve your goals. Enhance your skills perhaps or concentrate on better teamwork. Do whatever it takes to come out of the shadow of someone else.

In a way, you're using someone's success to further your career. But, it will not happen overnight, because they are working at it too. Observe and learn from them, so you can get ahead. It is a comparison, yes, of their skills and yours - use it to get inspired. When you combine and work those with your own ambitions you strike a jackpot. Plus, it helps you overcome jealousy.

Imbibe and follow

When we are in the envy mode, we also allow our insecurities to heighten. Another's success sets a pace and it controls our attitude. Oddly, our behaviour leans towards pessimism – which doesn't allow us to strike a balance.

If you shift your focus from the competition you'll notice all the avenues that are present, which can help you, grow. For that to happen you have to let go of your feelings of despair. There is always so much to learn from someone else's success. And you miss the opportunity to do so when you concentrate on the negatives. Harbouring resent will prevent you from accomplishing things. Like I mentioned earlier, it is all about the focus, your time and energies are wasted on the negatives. So, get positive and let go of the negative.


Sometimes real conversations can give you an insight on things. If someone got admission into a top-ranking MBA programme, rather than feel bitter, why not ask them about their approach to the Business School essay or question them about their preparation for the interview and application process etc. Their experience could teach you a lot. Pick up snippets from the conversation of things they did, that you can do too.

Make experience an ally

Experience is the best teacher, is a quote attributed to Julius Caesar, and how right he was. His viewpoint applies to not just your experiences, but also those of others that you meet. So, don't miss out on the opportunities that come your way – there are valuable lessons to be learnt if you willing to become flexible. You can propel your own growth while allowing the other person to bask in their glory.


All of us put this halo around our heads and think of ourselves as the most righteous beings that can do no wrong. But there is always this tinge of jealousy that creeps in when we see someone forge ahead. It is easy for our congratulatory messages and smiles to be overshadowed by envy and resentment. You're not alone; envy is a common human emotion, but the smart ones do not let it dwarf their own ambitions.

In the long run, you stand to gain nothing, if you allow the negative emotion to eclipse everything else. Quit being the proverbial green-eyed monster and show admiration where it is due. Learn to applaud people's victories and you'll rid of the negativity, opening the door to your own success. Feeling jealous lowers self-esteem, so what good can it do for you?

Yes, it is normal to be jealous of other people's success. But you shouldn't allow that to put a stop to your own progress. Work at ways of improving yourself, rather than bemoaning your fate or cursing someone else's luck. At the end of the day, luck has nothing to do with what you make of your life. It is the choices you make and your actions that chart your future.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 609 articles authored by Juana

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao22 Oct 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 1

As a matter of fact, certain things we can achieve when we feel envy only. There should be a competition for growth. Otherwise whatever we do we will feel great. We will never try our 100%. If somebody is achieving the things in our presence, we will also get pushed and try to perform better. In this attempt, sometimes we will think and feel that the other man is outracing us. This is required for betterment. But in some cases what happens is that the people start thinking the other way round, about how to put a break to other's progress. This will bring in negativity in us. So thinking positively how to overtake the competitor will give additional inputs and show ways for our progress.

The author has tried her best to give the best presentation without going for much research on the subject. For a seasoned hand, I think research is not a requirement. A good article from the author.

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