October 28, 2022
Everyone’s heard of someone else’s good news, probably via word of mouth. It’s not uncommon for individuals to feel inadequate and jealous like they’ve been sitting around doing nothing. Jealousy can be a form of fear, fear of losing something, complementing itself with anger, disgust, inadequacy, or despair. It’s natural to be jealous, it’s an evolutionary trait and can’t be avoided.
Viewing Others’ Results
However viewing others’ results is a matter of perspective. Some feel threatened, their success (other person) is their own failure, their ego is then harmed and they get jealous. To repair their ego, they do downward social compare, seeing people less fortune than them and saying “at least I’m better than them” to feel better about themselves.
Some find inspiration from others’ results, instead of being a hindrance, it’s the complete opposite, inspiration and motivation to strive. They upward social compare, looking at someone above and better than them, as a opportunity to improve not regress, knowing that “I can be them.”
Some individuals believe nothing is ever enough, always running an endless race, always in competitive with someone, always behind someone, always being an “inferior version” of someone else, always worse somehow. But sometimes being good enough is better than being perfect.
Bias and expectations also have an impact judging someone else’ success. Try to look at the bigger picture and in general things are not what they may seem. Founding a small newspaper for example, may seem incredible, but what has the newspaper done? There could numerous contributors but the actual content produced could be very little and the organization is just a facade of nothingness. Starting is easy, but getting better is the hard part.
Social media is common case that could lead to flawed judgements about another’s life. The algorithm on these sites are engineered to basically be life’s perfect highlight reel. Realistically no one can consistently maintain a life full of only highlights, people fail and life has low points, partying and having an “adventure” 24/7 would end up extremely mentally tiring and boring after a while.
Now don’t interpret jealousy as a terrible thing, it isn’t inherently horrible, and it can’t exactly be avoided. Jealousy can spark change, creating discontent which is the first step to self-improvement; revealing what you truly desire.
Viewing Your Results
Though it is necessary to compare yourself to others to some extent. The most important point is to focus on your own growth, everyday striving and pushing yourself to your limit. Although results may come later than expected because of the valley of disappointment.
Graphic by Andrew Wu
Reward yourself for what trying and small gains, instead of punishing yourself for not reaching those expected results like not getting that A on a test. In the case of students, assessments and accomplishments, are just one point in someone’s potential, it’s impossible to tell the slope or coefficient of a line by just one point; these points may not even be accurate. People have great flukes, great success, tests are not always made well, and many factors come into play. Thus the correlation between result and skill vaguely correlate; but never the exact same.
Once again, bias clouds perception, social comparison theory is an example that affects everyone, it theorizes that individuals determine their own skill based on others’ skills. This situation illustrates the theory: a math student is in a high level math class and behind everyone in her class, so they believe they’re “bad at math.” However in actuality they’re not bad and better than average since they’re in a high level class. The key takeaway is that others peoples results don’t take from ours.
Another danger in viewing results is not trying to fall in rat race mentality, no one is in competition with anyone. Life is a journey not a race of who can be “the best,” life is not a race, that really needs to be emphasized. it’s unjust to compare somebody’s whole character to being “superior” than someone since, Everyone is different, different skills, different weaknesses, different strengths, and different goals. The main thing is focus on improvement and process, rather than results of the improvement, and strive every single day.