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Monday, April 16, 2018

Why Envy Is the Bitter Enemy of Success

Don't begrudge your friends' successes, celebrate and enable them.

Envy is evil.

Not just for its corrosive effects on society, but for what it can do to undermine your own success. Envy makes you bitter and joyless. Worse, it blinds you to your own potential and the opportunity around you.

If the success of those around you makes you less happy, you’re in a death spiral. Conversely, one of the great secrets to personal growth and achievement is the realization that the success of your friends is your success. Not metaphorically, and not just ’cause it gives you feels. In a very literal sense.

You can think of it as a formula:


Your ceiling (YC) equals your success (YS) times your friends’ success (FS). Let me give a simple example to illustrate. If you succeed at coming up with a brilliant idea for a business (YS goes up with the idea) and you have friends who have succeeded financially (FS is high), they can invest in your idea or connect you to those who can, which multiplies the total yield from your effort.

Given the above formula, there are several ways to raise your ceiling. One is to increase your success directly (grow YS). Another is to increase the number of people you consider friends (grow F). Another is to increase the amount of success your friends have (grow S).

It’s sort of like Metcalfe’s Law for your personal network, except better.

The more people with whom you are friendly, and the more you embrace and support their success, the more you multiply your own efforts and raise your personal achievement ceiling. Each year that passes, if you keep investing in FS, it will compound. I have friends whose success has led to them meeting people who were really valuable to the success of other friends, so I connected them, increasing everyone’s success, and later those successful friends were able to connect me to people who could help with what I’m doing, etc.

It’s sort of like Metcalfe’s Law for your personal network, except better. It doesn’t just grow in value with each new node, but each node grows in value as each other node grows in value as well.

Be generous with who you consider a friend, and take joy in all their successes! It will catapult your efforts. (But remember, no matter how high FS, if YS is zero, your ceiling will still be zero.)

Reprinted from the author’s blog.