The winning mindset
Are you unhappy when others are succeeding? Does your success seem dependent on someone else’s failure?
Are you unhappy when others are succeeding? Does your success seem dependent on someone else's failure? "Keeping up with the Joneses" is an expression that is commonly used to describe the attitude of always wanting to keep up with the neighbours in terms of possessions and wanting to have the things that our neighbours have.
Envy is another word that can be used to describe this frame of mind. This is a very appropriate word because it encompasses greed, jealousy, resentment and a strong desire for something somebody else has, usually at whatever cost.
Unfortunately, it is an attitude that is widespread, not only in Zambia, but all over the world. Throughout our childhood and most of our adult life, competition is the order of the day.
Right from our school days we are taught that our self worth is measured in relation to other people. At school, our grading system gives you a number at the end of the term. If you "pass number one" that means you are the best in your class.
If you "pass number 25" that means there are 24 other kids that are better than you are. So if you want to be number one and "win" you must make sure that all the other kids "lose" and pass number two or more.
Wait a minute though, why can't all the kids in class pass number one? Why must we compare one child to another? A simple pass or fail remark on the report card might be sufficient without necessarily stating numbers.
Unfortunately for children, parents take these numbers very seriously. This carries on through life.
The boss must ensure that he does not allow his juniors to get too much knowledge or qualifications if he is to keep his number one spot as the top dog in the company. In fact, at times he must deliberately frustrate any efforts by his subordinates to progress.
Even amongst friends and relatives this occurs. Sibling rivalry does not always end when children grow up. A lot of times it continues. The success of one child in adulthood is measured against the success of another.
It seems whatever we have achieved seems insignificant when compared to what so and so has done or acquired.
There are several reasons why envy is such a problem. Firstly, if you are envious of another person's success that means you will never be satisfied with anything you ever achieve. The fact remains that most times there will always be someone that does better than you in some area.
Secondly, if you are envious of other people's success it means you have no clue what you want for your own life. Just because the Joneses have it or do this and that does not mean you should have it or do it.
Will it help you in achieving your own objectives and "minding your own business?" If you have a clear vision for your life, what another person achieves or acquires won't matter: you will know exactly where you are, why you are there, where you need to go and what you need to do to get there.
Thirdly, carried to some extremes, envious people will even try to cripple the progress of others and stop it if possible.
Rather than channel their energy into their own success they channel it into this very unproductive mindset: backstabbing, sabotaging, destroying at every chance they get and spending their prime time on thinking about others instead of thinking of ways to improve their own situation.