How to Use Jealousy to Fuel Success

You will pay for your sins - you'll be sorry, my dear! Image credit - Sketches of Sofia
You will pay for your sins - you'll be sorry, my dear! Image credit - Sketches of Sofia


This article was inspired by a discussion in the Tribe Builder's Network.


Let's talk about jealousy. No, not the romantic side of it. Rather, we'll look from a more daily perspective.


It's so easy to stress yourself when you see someone like you accomplishing more. Have you ever felt jealous of someone's success?


Although jealousy can be one of the most destructive emotions out there, it's also true it can take different forms and - ironically, they can even appear under different names and push you in different directions in life.


Which one will you take?


Back to school

Just like many of you, my dear artistic friends, I have been predisposed to creativity since early childhood.


I was officially recognized among my classmates as the best artist, alongside this other kid, Drago (who was also very friendly and kind, and I was in good relations with him, unlike with the majority of other boys). If I have to be honest, from today's professional prospective I do believe this kid was a better artist than me.

Even though I was always getting A grades and our art teacher liked me a lot, he had slight preferences for Drago. At the end of one class (we were around 12 years old), while showcasing the paintings, the teacher said:

"Very nice painting! Well done, Drago! You should pursue professional art career!"

There was this jealousy creeping in. I think it was not that much denying that Drago was good. Rather, my "drama" was that I wasn't publicly recognized by the authority figure of my Art teacher. Yes, there was the Ego play here! And it is quite normal for any growing child, trying to prove their significance and meaning in the big world.

So, what I did was carry on, practise and create even better paintings. I was not really "competing" with Drago, I was just doing my own thing, with the idea that I must gain the recognition I believed I deserved.

One year later,.... when the final grades came in, the Mister was making the comments, and when he reached my name, he said:

"Well done, Margarita! I've seen amazing work from you! I think you should pursue art professionally!"

YES! THIS was my little victory.

As for Drago, he went to technical school. I don't know what happened with his artistic skills on a professional level. He might be producing wonderful paintings for his kids, though.


Types of jealousy

Although they all come from a place of comparison with others, different types of jealousy often go by different names and have different expressions. At their core, they all originate from the same primary source.


It is our job to channel the feelings once they appear, and put them in the right direction which will bring the best outcome. How we handle them depends on our self-esteem and confidence.


Destructive jealousy

  • I am not good enough!
  • How is he any better?
  • This is not fair!
  • I'll never get the success he has!...
  • Why couldn't I be at his place?!
  • I wish she could disappear somewhere so I can be the best one!

Do you recognize some of this self-talk? This is all an expression of the destructive and probably the most classical type of jealousy. The one which is belittling us and making us feel not good/ smart/ quick/ slow/ old/ young/ fill-in-the-blank enough.


The truth is we all know it. It comes from a position of fear and low self-worth. I would congratulate anyone who has not experienced this type of jealousy.


In the more extreme expression, this jealousy can bring aggression, psychological and physical abuse, and even lethal outcomes.


This is the "bad guy" we should be avoiding; the one which brings the bad reputation to this otherwise powerful and potentially constructive  drive.


Motivational Jealousy

It is also known as Ambition and Competition. 

  • If he can do it, I can do it!
  • If he is already doing it, then it must be possible!
  • Wow, that's kinda cool! I can totally get the same results!

In this case, the jealousy is pushing us forward to achieve and create something.

We recognize our skills and qualities as good enough and somewhat equal to the object of our jealousy.

It comes from a position of acceptance and stretching beyond our current comfort zone.


This was the type of jealousy described in the story at the beginning.


The tricky part here is that we may get annoyed with other's success, which can push us towards fear and the "classical" destructive jealousy. 


Inspirational jealousy

Imitation and Admiration also can have their roots in our good old Jealousy.

  • Wow, she is amazing!
  • I wish I could be like her!
  • I wonder how she does it!

This is the type of jealousy we experience when we see a role model, or a celebrity, wishing for their success in our life.


We recognize they are much further along the way, and we also have respect for all their skills and achievements.

Very often we perceive them as our guiding light, and we rejoice at their success.


The challenge is not to fall in desperation with gloominess that we would never be like them,  feel belittled and lose our self-esteem.

A smart move is to actually befriend them, study and apply their wisdom to our life. Yes, this may mean imitating them.


In today's world it is absolutely possible to communicate on a personal level with them - and this is what I am doing with the interviews on Just How Cool Is That?!


Thus we will actually understand how they did it, we'll learn the price they paid for their success, and eventually we will comprehend they are much more human (or not ;) ) than we initially imagined.



Featured image credit - Sketches of Sofia.


Have your say!

  • Have you been an object of jealousy recently?
  • Which type of jealousy have you experienced to others?
  • Did you manage to channel it to achieve your goal?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below and remember to tell your friends on social media by clicking the buttons below!


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