Today, I was thinking about the seven deadly sins. My two personal favourites are without a doubt, Lust and Sloth. You can’t beat those two for a good time. I’d say that I’d give Gluttony an honourable mention because I broke keto this afternoon and had a chocolate brownie and then smashed into a pizza for dinner, so I was loving the gluttony.
But the deadly sin that I have absolutely no time for at all is the green-eyed monster, Envy.
I have to say, I’m pretty lucky that there’s something in my DNA that seems to genetically predispose me to not really ever becoming envious.
Oh sure, I look at Bill Gates and think, “Dude, if I had that much money, I’d own the Toronto Maple Leafs and I’d do a lap of the Moon in my personal rocketship every year for vacation.”
But that’s not really “envy”. I’m not what you’d consider sad and resentful towards Bill Gates because he’s that rich. In fact, if anything, I admire the hell out of the guy for his selfless and charitable contributions to the world.
As you could tell from my description of what I’d do with his wealth, I’d be turning myself into Starman and hanging out with Auston Matthews (look him up), so I readily accept that he’s a better human than I am.
In business, I see people who are envious all the time.
They see other people having success and they immediately think the person is a scammer or is doing something dodgy. No research or any experience with the person, just straight to the worst possible conclusion.
I’m someone that has VERY little time for the gurus who sell hopium to the desperate and naive masses in the world of online business. I have been known to call them out and highlight their toxic behaviour on more than one occasion.
But some people just hate anyone that’s successful.
I personally have gotten this – people will email me and “demand” to know how much money I earn to “prove” to them that I’m not a fake.”
This kind of thing has nothing to do with me, that’s about this other person’s self-limiting beliefs and poor sense of self-worth.
That’s where envy actually comes from.
If you don’t think deep down that you’re good enough or smart enough to be successful, you convince yourself that nobody else is either and they have to be pulling some kind of scam or lying about their success.
If you’re lazy and spend all of your time watching Netflix instead of putting the work in on your business, then when you look at someone that’s hustling and doing well, you can’t possibly be unhappy about their success.
St Thomas Aquinas was a pretty smart hombre. He identified three stages of envy that I’ll summarize here:
- You work to lower the other person’s reputation to bring them down to your level
- You take pleasure in their misfortune
- You end up hating that person
And most philosophers say that envy (and pride) leads to more unhappiness and sorrow than anything else because you’re never satisfied with your own lot in life.
I think that’s so true.
When I see people who are envious, I often see unhappy people.
I talk about it a fair bit, but about three years ago, I underwent a pretty big mental and emotional shift when it came to wealth and prosperity.
I adopted an abundance based mindset.
The world has untold and untapped potential for everyone.
My favourite example is that in 1985, significant portions of the populations of Asia and Africa were starving to death or in severe, extreme poverty conditions.
Fast forward to 2015, just 30 years later and Asia has 100% mobile phone penetration (there are actually more mobiles than people) and Africa has 80% mobile penetration. In fact, access to mobile phones has resulted in GDP growth acceleration in Africa by an additional 4% per year.
Not only that, but starvation, in practical terms has been eliminated in virtually the last ten years alone. Since 2007, the world has produced 30% more staples (wheat, rice, etc) than it can consume and food prices have dropped across the world as a percentage of GDP by over 10% in the last decade.
Really, the only “risk” of starvation in practical terms now are from war and extremism and despite what the mainstream media will tell you, even those things are on the decline.
In just about every conceivable measurement in the last twenty years, the world has turned the corner in terms of production – we produce far more of everything than we need to survive.
Now, I’m not sitting here saying there’s no poverty or whatever, that would be stupid – there are people in Africa with 3G Nokia brick phones barely getting enough calories a day, but 30 years ago, those same people would have been probably facing starvation.
We just now live in extraordinarily abundant times.
If you live in a Western country with a stable government (that includes you America despite what some of you might think), have a decent education, are reasonably healthy and have access to the internet, well, frankly, the world is your oyster, you just have to shuck it.
Sitting around envying other people is a complete waste of time. Rather than being resentful of what someone else has, bear down and go build your own business.
There is literally nothing stopping you… Except you.
And that’s what envy does. It stops you from achieving your potential by wasting your energy worrying about what other people have that you don’t when there is almost no reason that you can’t go get whatever that is for yourself.
Bury that green-eyed monster and you’ll be a better person for it.