From a young age we are taught that personal success is of the upmost importance & we should strive for success in everything we do. Success validates our efforts & makes us feel on top of the world. Our own success should be our #1 priority, right? But what happens when we see others succeed?
During college, I attend a small university in Northern Virginia & quickly became friends with a number of students in my equally small graphic design program. We had many of the same classes & saw each other’s work constantly. I was frequently marveled at the pieces my incredibly talented classmates created, but there was a rub.
Despite my best efforts, I watched friends & classmates receive recognition for their work, but I didn’t receive the same attention for my work. I tried hard to be happy for my friends, but some days it was a challenge to not be resentful of their success. We were all working hard & striving for success. We all wanted to get good grades, graduate, & get a good paying job. The was anything but malice in my classmates achievements, but I still struggled to cheer them on wholeheartedly.
“Our genuine concern should be the success of others.” —Elder Howard W. Hunter
It wasn’t until after I graduated & started working that I learned a valuable lesson. In the workplace & in the world of small business, I started seeing the dissonance between colleagues, the fierce competition between businesses & the anger at perceived unfairness between friends. It’s hard to watch. I also started seeing the incredible talent of dozens upon dozens novice & young creatives that was astounding.
The more I saw the more I felt that the anger & contention didn’t seem right. Why should I should be jealous someone for their good fortune & talents? Don’t I have a good life & many good talents? I was humbled & grateful for my immensely blessed life. The change in my perspective was profound & liberating. I could finally be truly happy for the success of those around me without losing sight of my own.
Now, my genuine concern is the success of others. I love seeing friends start small businesses, cheering them on & sharing what I can to help them prosper. I love finding new talented creatives—regardless of age or experience—to follow & be inspired by. There is so much room for all of us & our unique talents. Do I still be a twinge of envy seeing others flourish? Sometimes, but instead of letting it leads to discouragement or anger, I use it to motivate, encourage & inspire my own efforts.
“Papered Thoughts” is an ongoing series, sharing thoughts on positive & motivational quotes to uplift & inspire.