To find true happiness, we must look within instead of coveting that of others. Here’s how:
I constantly hear excuses from people for why they can’t get ahead, but in many cases the real reason is because they’re not working hard or smart enough — or spending beyond their means.
Today, there’s more opportunity than ever to earn income without a “real” job by freelancing your skills, or even property you already own. For instance, I’m a freelance writer, but I also rent out my homes to vacationers, drive people around as an on-demand taxi driver, and watch people’s pet when they go out of town.
Of course, I understand that financial stability doesn’t come overnight, but your personal plight is nobody’s problem but your own; so if you want to change then you’ll have to face it head-on. It’s an uphill battle, but you’ll get there with positive attitude and a lot of patience.
Accept what you can’t control
You can’t control everything — especially others’ lifestyle. The sooner you recognize this, the better.
“Make a list of what you can and can’t control in any situation causing you envy,” says Kimberly Hershenson, a licensed clinical social worker. “For example, if your co-worker got a raise, you have no control over that fact. Instead, focus on what you can control to make change: working harder, getting feedback from your supervisor, and asking for a raise yourself.”
Analyze others’ success
While envying someone’s success is detrimental to your own, analyzing it can actually be helpful when you use it as an outline for your own life.
“The correct approach to observing and wanting others’ success and material wealth is to analyze how they achieved their success,” says entrepreneur Beverly Solomon, who owns her eponymous design firm. “While a small percentage of people luck into wealth by inheriting it, the vast majority achieve success through hard work, education, tenacity and patience.”
Counseling professor Dr. Tiffany Stewart agrees. “Peeping into someone else’s yard takes the focus off of you and keeps you from improving yourself,” she adds. “Live your life and make it what you want by working on you first.”
Appreciate what you have
Too many people worry about the things they don’t have without taking time to appreciate what they do have. According to mind and body wellbeing coach Wendy Cheah, one way to fix this bad habit is to practice gratitude. “Practice by thinking or writing a list of things that make you feel good, no matter how big or small it is,” she says. “For example, ‘I have my own apartment, I have a fridge full of food, my boss approved my project.’ By practicing gratitude we fill up our mind and soul from inside out, and it also makes us realize how lucky we are and focus on how much we have in our life.”
Stop waiting for something good to happen
The odds of a life-changing event happening to you are equivalent to winning the lottery: one in millions. If you want something good to happen to you, make strides toward that end.
Turn off “reality” TV
Reality television plays a huge role in our fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The consequence of buying into the “reality” narrative is that it’s capable of making you feel like you’re being left behind in life while increasing feelings of insignificance. “Too many people get caught up thinking that reality TV is reality,” says Dr. Stewart. “That’s simply not true. These are scripted shows, and there are retakes if it doesn’t look right the first time. In reality, there are few, if any, retakes in life.”
Stop blaming your setbacks on others
One of the most annoying words in the national lexicon right now is “privilege.” I constantly hear how some people are privileged because of their race, their perceived beauty, their weight, their sexual orientation and many other things, but when people use that word in condemnation of others’ success, it usually means “I deserve the things you have more than you do.” And that’s unfair.
While there are exceptions, the vast majority of successful people have earned their good fortune. If you want your opportunity, chase it. Seize it. Claim it as your own. You’re 100% capable.
Spend time with the less-fortunate
For perspective, spend a night on the streets with the homeless, visit a hospital, or travel to a third-world country. Putting yourself in the shoes of those less fortunate provides much-needed clarity. None of us are promised anything, and none of us should expect to be given anything. We only deserve what we earn.
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