It’s a question of resource allocation.
You possess finite time and finite energy. Will this time and energy be spent on frustration: gainless comparison between your journey and the journeys of those whom you admire? Those who may be a little further down the road than you?
We all have our eyes on a few folks who have what we want, who have accomplished that which we aspire to, maybe they act the way we wish we could, or they’ve won awards we want to win.
It’s okay to admire. It’s okay to aspire. But don’t do so at the expense of gratitude and contentment, nor at the expense of clear-minded, effective action.
Here’s a reminder: when those you admire were in your shoes, they didn’t know how their story would turn out. They lay awake at night, longing to know if they would accomplish their goals. Racking their brains to discover how to do it. They didn’t have the comfort of knowing who they would eventually become.
Much like you in this very moment.
So don’t despair. Don’t despise the glory of others. Don’t submit to jealousy.
You see, these distractions take time, and they take energy. They suck the life from you, they cut your legs out from under you, the same legs that can gain momentum, that can take awesome, life-changing action.
It is this very energy that you must reserve for focus, for action born out of purpose, for going on the offensive out of passion for a clear vision. It’s hard to take this type of action when you’re busy leering at someone else out of envy.
You have the opportunity to observe these same people—these objects of envy or jealousy—and to emulate them. To study them. To peer into their lives, to earnestly seek to understand what has made them great, and to begin to adopt what you see.
I can waste my time with questions like, “Why don’t I have that many followers yet? I’m a much better writer than that guy!”
Or, instead, I can say, “What is he doing that is getting people excited? What is he doing that I can incorporate into my business to take it to the next level?”
Why waste time being jealous of Stephen King when you could set down and write a thousand words right now? You don’t get better by wishing you were better, nor do you get better by wishing someone else was worse off.
The people we admire–those who accomplish great things–aren’t magic. They differentiate themselves primarily by taking action. They are too intent on their goals to waste their time being jealous of others. While most people are wishing or wallowing, they are doing.
With this finite reserve of time and energy, you have two choices. Wallow in envy, wish that you had better luck or richer parents or more time, blame the world around you and smolder at the privileged position of others, OR… put your head down, stay consistently persistent, do the work, grow purposeful habits and a work ethic that supports your vision, and trust that the journey itself has value.
Will you spend your finite time and energy on the wasted distraction of envy? Or will you skip that nonsense, learn from those who’ve had success before you, and take purposeful action?