Why Do We Discredit Other People’s Achievements?
There are two main ways of getting ahead. Do everything you can to improve your own situation or try and cut others down to come out with a stronger competitive advantage. The second way is obviously the loser way to get ahead. Anybody who employs this method will likely always be dissatisfied with what they have because they will be constantly envious of others. Everybody I’ve met who takes the second route are perpetual underperformers. I try to avoid them like the plague.
It’s probably impossible to get rid of envy. It’s also hard not to attribute our success to hard work and other people’s success to luck. As you know, the number one method to keep haters at bay is to attribute everything you’ve achieved due to luck!
It still perplexes me that in a land of cheap and easy transportation why not just take a Greyhound bus and go where life is better. The first settlers took three months to move cross country. We can do the move in a week. Perpetually complaining about the weather in the midwest isn’t going to solve the hollowing out of our great states.
We shouldn’t have to worry about other people’s finances, but sometimes I do wonder why someone would willingly drop a dumbbell on their toes and blame others for their pain.
SOME RECENT EXAMPLES OF DISSATISFATION
A friend the other day mentioned how lucky a high school classmate was for making lots of money, more money than him. My friend is a math genius who received a full college scholarship. The high school classmate on the other hand did poorly in school and took six years to graduate college with a 2.8 GPA. By anybody’s “most likely to succeed” forecasts, our high school classmate would never have made the list. Yet here he is, making six figures as a high level government clearance IT worker because he worked for his certifications.
One person who is really unsatisfied with his situation in a retort to Learning To Be Happy With What We Have mentioned that of course it’s easy to have a 70% savings rate given I made a high income. No arguments here despite many cases of people making millions going bankrupt. But what about my efforts to study 4-5 hours a day after 2.5 hours of tennis practice in order to get a good enough GPA to go to a decent university? What about the summer and winter internships to build relevant work experience in order to increase my chances of finding a job after college? Or what about deft career strategies and working 50-65 hours a week on average for 13 consecutive years in order to increase my income to exit the rat race early? None of that counts to him. Good thing I’ve got a Career & Employment category for those who think effort makes a difference.
Another person started bagging on how much doctors make. Give me a freaking break! It’s taken 12 years after undergrad for a good friend of mine to start making $250,000 a year. The kick in the nuts is that before the Obama administration started clamping down on insurance reimbursement rates, he would have started making $350,000 – $400,000 a year! I’ve seen his 6am to 1am shifts in fellowship training, not to mention all the studying and tuition he’s had to sacrifice. The criticizer didn’t even go to grad school and seems to give up as soon the going gets tough. The percentage of people with a medical doctorate degrees is less than 1%, largely because it’s so hard to become a doctor. They are way underpaid in my opinion.
Finally, the blogging community will have conflict because there’s little barriers to entry. You’ll always have someone who thinks they are smarter, funnier, and more helpful than others frustrated by their progress. Why them, not me? The internet is one of the best meritocracies. You see your results in real-time through the amount of traffic and/or revenue you receive every day. Instead of writing about how other sites are selling out or fake or whatever else that makes you feel better about your underperformance, write more content and establish new revenue streams.
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
There’s always going to be somebody better than you. You can either use other people’s successes as motivation to make your own success. Or you can just stay miserable. Your misery will probably carry over into your love life and everything else you do if you are not careful.
Every month I go for a jog around the mansions in Pacific Heights to get inspired. A lot of the new occupants are self made tycoons e.g. Levi’s, Oracle, Google, etc.. Those who come from old money continuously give back to The City as well. I’m not going to start egging their homes just because of what they’ve accomplished.
I’d like to hear from you why there is so much inflexibility in the way people think. Why not just work harder? Surely there can’t be people who only work 40 hours a week or less and complain why they can’t get ahead, can there be?
As we celebrate America’s independence, tell me readers why do we discredit other people’s efforts when it’s clear as day most success is due to individual effort? The best way to become independent is to focus on improving ourselves. Or, we can just kick back, let the most gung-ho people take the best opportunities and pay for the rest of us.
Photo: Kid terrorizing pigeons in Zuccotti Park, 2013.