I thought I lived in a pretty nice house. "I'm quite blessed," I just figured. "Great space. Nice neighborhood. I'm rich!" THEN, I traveled to Baltimore to visit my friend Frank. After experiencing his "real house," I quickly began rethinking my beliefs, "How could I allow my kids to grow up in a hovel?!" "There's no space to hardly move!" "The neighborhood is falling apart!" I felt like a pauper. "How had I let my life come to this!?"
Though, of course I should know better, I sometimes let the enigma of dream and success envy slip subtly into my soul, with its accompanying poison and pain. I see others with blogs getting thousands of hits a day, and I think, "Why should I even bother!" One friend's book makes the NY Best Seller list and gets read by former presidents. "Might as well quit writing!" Another friend's company gets cover story recognition. Another gets voted "entrepreneur of the year." Another "retires" at 56 to pursue his passion as a full-time non-profit volunteer. Of course, there's a part of me that's proud to know such cool people! And there's the other side that goes "Umm.... Jeff, their dreams are better than yours. They can do it... you can't. Face it, you're a failure!"
OK, so its hard for me and most of us to admit we have such feelings. Deep down, we know such envy's not helpful. Dream envy and success comparison kills community between us and withers our own dream motivation, not to mention our souls along the way.
So, why do we envy other's whose dreams seem to outpace or outdo our own? On the positive side, because we know we were made for more. We know we haven't lived up to all that's in us...yet. And hopefully, they're success can propel us with thoughts of, "Wow, achieving a dream is possible!"
On the downside, we also know we secretly wonder if we have what it takes. We question our own unique gifts and doubt our abilities to live up to what we desire. Envy is that childish behavior that made us wish we had Johnny's great birthday present and Joanne's great style. We were happy until we realized that someone else's life seemed better than our own.
The temptation when we experience such "inequality" can be to say, "Well, I'll just quit!" Or "Well, they had it easy. My life is hard! .... "I have kids." "I have a rough marriage." "They come from money." "Their industry is easy." Of course, those things don't help us steadily and cheerfully continue to pursue our own dreams.
And you wonder how I'm such an expert in these things, huh?
No excuse, dream envy doesn't work. Your dream is your dream. And you must not give up. My dream is my dream. And I must persist. Let's together make this world better ---- spurring each other on and encouraging dream-aspirers and dream-attainers to succeed.
Got Dream Envy? Time to just admit, it's just not helpful.
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