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Envy: A potential step towards your personal development

Have you become better because of your envy of another?

Let me explain…

I was listening to a podcast conversation between UK comediennes Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. French stated to Saunders that when Saunders developed her comedy series Absolutely Fabulous and it became a huge hit, French was quite envious of her success. Saunders then humorously stated that people are happy for others to be successful, just not TOO successful.

This conversation got me thinking about how envy can play a powerful role in our success.

Despite envy being one of the ‘seven deadly sins’, it can also be a strong driver of our own achievements.

We often compare ourselves – and our businesses, for those who have them – to others at various times in life. It is natural in our attempt to gauge our progress in particular areas.

When this comparison brings about feelings of shame, helplessness or resentment, we can sabotage our own chances of improvement.

For example, rather than focusing on what you can do to be more satisfied with your journey and achievements, you instead maliciously assess what your ‘competition’ is doing.

However, if you can flip your response to one where you are simply identifying opportunities to become better yourself, then envy can be a powerful motivational tool that helps you become more successful.

Here are two methods of managing envy that can result in greater success for you.


When you find yourself looking at what others are doing and you feel that trigger of envy, look for the specific ‘thing’ that is making you feel envious. Is this a thing that you would like to incorporate into what you do or have? If so, you have just quickly identified an opportunity for growth. Take action immediately to implement this wonderful thing so you (and your business) can start benefiting from it straight away.


If you observe yourself being envious of others, they must be enjoying some success that you want for yourself. Aren’t you curious as to how they achieved it? What inspires them? How they make progress in their life? The logical way to find out what drives this successful person is to get to know them. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn has famously stated that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”: therefore, surround yourself with those people whom you see as successful.
A crucial element for this step to be one that inspires your own success is that you choose to be truly happy for other people’s success and encourage them to strive for even greater accomplishments.

Envy is a natural part of being human. It can be destructive to yourself and your relationships. It can also be a powerful step towards your personal improvement.