Imagine you’re unsatisfied at work.
The pay is good, the work is okay, but ultimately, it’s not where you belong professionally. The fulfillment factor isn’t there anymore. The job has run its course. Soon enough, the time will come to move on to the next work adventure.
And so, one afternoon, just for shits and giggles, you start running thought experiments. Imagining what life and work might look and feel like if you switched careers or went back to school or launched your own business.
You read some articles about career reinvention. Maybe even sneak a peek at interesting job applications during lunch hour.
It’s nothing serious, just an exercise in career curiosity that energizes and encourages you on an otherwise sullen day.
Then you get home and your spouse leaps into your arms at the front door with some exciting news. His innovative smartphone app just secured a multimillion dollar round of funding from an angel investor. The announcement made headlines in every tech publication in the industry. Website traffic is through the roof. Downloads have never been higher. This is the tipping point that will launch his project to the next level. After years of hard work, his fulfillment ship has finally come in.
Meanwhile, that ship just knocked the wind out of your sails.
His newfound good fortune seems to underline your own dashed hopes.
And you’d like to share the joy of his success, but you just can’t escape the painful loneliness. So you put on a happy face even though it feels like he left you behind.
This scenario happens all the time. In a variety of relationships, too. From friends to lovers to colleagues to coworkers to family members. And over time, if not properly acknowledged processed, an undercurrent of jealousy and rivalry can start to form between people.
Masters, who wrote the quintessential book on emotional intimacy, points out the toxicity of this dynamic. He believes that resentment is more of a moral state, filled with the conviction that the other person doesn’t deserve to have what they have, or what you think you deserve to have.
It creates the comparing mind, he says, where a contracted flood of repetitive thoughts about those who have what you want. A place where you tend to do nothing to alter your situation and simply settle for being embittered about what another has that you wish you had.
Masters offers a helpful question to ask in this situation.
Are you willing to do what is needed to have what this person has?
Because if so, then there isn’t a problem. Their success can serve as a spark of inspiration, as opposed to a source of envy. You can metabolize your angry and lonely energy into creative firepower that fuels your own work.
On the other hand, if you’re not willing to do the work to have what you say you want, then, well, good luck.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you respond to watching your dreams come true for somebody else?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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