THE VIRTUE OF ENVY
How to use jealousy’s slightly nicer sister to jump start your career. Okay, so you’re no stranger to the seven deadly sins. Vanity? That would explain the obscene amount of money you recently spent in Selfridges’ beauty hall. Gluttony? You practically have shares in your local bakery. Sloth? A way of life. But your current spiritual copy paper is blotted by one transgression in particular - envy. Aristotle once defined it as pain at the good fortune of others. And while a touch of the green eyed monster is never pleasant, especially when followed by a sense of your own imagined failure, it can change your career for the better. According to Liverpool based psychologist Dr Steve Wooding, all emotions, even negative ones, are designed to draw our attention to something that needs rectifying in our lives. “Regret brings an opportunity to reflect and ask ourselves if we're really doing the best we can with what we have, and if not, question what we're going to do about it,” he says. “The problem with both envy and regret is that when we don't follow
them with reflection and action, they develop and distort quite destructively envy tends to be focused outwards and leads into anger while regret focuses inwards and slowly eats away at us and hollows us out.” While Steve, from Ice & Lemon, believes we should avoid making comparisons in the first place, the only cure for regret is action. Also, remember that everything has its price. “Often those that we may envy have paid a price in other areas of their life that we're just not aware of, or have put in huge amounts of time and effort earlier on in their career in order get where they are now. And sometimes the price of their success has been paid by someone else. Often we have to make a trade-off or strike a balance and that's down to personal values - if you really value a solid stable family life, then a career that involves constant early starts and late nights is going to be tricky. On the flip-side, if it's a high-powered career you're after, then relationships have to come in second place.”
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