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April 18, 2016

What do you think & feel when you see others succeed?

I’m not talking about that amazing moment when your sporting hero scores the winning points in the dying seconds of the game – your heart is racing, euphoria and adrenaline shoots through your body as you experience that moment of pure bliss, joy and excitement all at once. As if you won the game all by yourself!

I’m talking about those moments when you see someone, who is no “better” than you, achieve something special. Maybe they launch and sell a startup or are acknowledged for their achievements in their career. Perhaps they land the beautiful and intelligent girl of their dreams. Perhaps they purchase that house/car/round the world ticket you’ve always wanted. Perhaps they have kids with character and amazing relationships with their friends and family. But you notice, and you’re not filled with euphoria. Far from it.

I’ve been fortunate to have some great friends, achieve some extraordinary success. I’ve been authentically happy for them, celebrated with them. I’ve also had moments where I get angry, resentful, jealous and depressed about the success of others. Probably more so when the person doing the achieving isn’t a close friend of mine, when I know them socially or as a business acquaintance. Sometimes it could be someone I don’t know at all.

I would reflect on my inner thoughts and think…“Christof, you’re a fucking asshole, they deserve that success, they (mostly) worked hard for it”. Then I would take it one step further and do some really tough introspection. “Why is this really upsetting me?”

Every single time it’s because I’m experiencing some sort of “lack” in my life. I’m not resentful or jealous towards them as much as I’m resentful towards myself for not filling this “lack”. There’s most likely an issue in my life I haven’t addressed or resolved.

I never experience the feelings of anger, resentment and jealousy when someone is doing something way-out of my “focus” or “talents”. As an example, a friend of mine is a very successful male model. I have never had any intention of being one, don’t believe it’s a life I would like or have chosen even if I could. Him making boatloads of cash while posing with semi nude girls on a beach somewhere and getting photographed by paparazzi on his off days, makes me think, way to go man, have fun with that!

Someone who is pursuing similar “paths” to mine, very different story.

Let’s be clear – this is not a competing with the Jones’ scenario – competing purely for the sake of ego or social appearance. We know we shouldn’t compare our lives to others’ but it’s not a comparison as much as it’s a mirror directed into your soul.

This is a deeper battle for the personal fulfilment of your soul/purpose in life, and goes way beyond material objects.

So back to that introspection, if you’re ever confronted by some of the same demons I face every now and then, here’s something that will help.

Process for dealing with anger, depression, resentment and jealousy:

– What is going on – that this is upsetting me? (you come up with an answer)
– What does that mean? (you come up with another more simplistic answer)
– What does that mean? (yet another answer but a bit deeper)

You continue with the question “What does that mean?” until you get to the real deep, base level, almost sub conscious meaning you’ve attached to this person’s success/achievement. For me it usually boils down to something like

“I’m not using my intelligence to my full capacity”
“I’m not pursuing my passions/purpose with conviction”
“I’m not aligned to my larger purpose in life”
“I’m unfulfilled by my current endeavours”
“I’m scared”

The depth of answer you’re going to experience here really depends on your courage to keep digging. Once I’ve gotten to the core idea/belief I like to ask myself 4 more questions, and make sure to answer them.

– “Is this belief serving me?”
– “Can I give myself permission to let go of this belief?”
– “What is the new belief that I want to replace it with?”
– “What can I do right now and for the next 30days that will be consistent with that new belief so that I truly embody it?”

My good friend Tim Goodenough (@TimGoodenoughZA or raisingtalentthebook.com) walked me through this process a few months ago and it’s caused an amazing shift in my outlook and actions in life.