The world is mostly a cold, dark, bitter, lonely place of gladiatorial-like competition for limited resources, wealth, and power. We are not so far removed from our ancient evolutionary ancestors where we have been able to deny our instincts for territory and abundance with little concern for anyone who lacks them. This makes everyone competition if we let it make us that way.
Now, I am not going to sit here and say there are not some really genuine, great, altruistic people in this world. I know there are. There are some people who would do anything for you and would keep doing it, just to make sure you kept succeeding. They want you to blow the fucking roof off of your life and build a skyscraper in its place and will help you do it, in any way that they can.
These people are few and far between, and the more I live, the more I succeed, the more I continue to do shit that no one ever thought I could do – or actively told me I couldn’t do – I have found that most people want you to fail. Not totally fail, just fail enough so you never get above them.
Here is what I have seen in my life; when you are suffering – when you are low and down and need a hand – there are a good number of people who are going to help you out. They are going to empathize with you. They are going to shed some tears. They are going to give you a hug or say, “That must be really hard. I am sorry to hear that.”
They may lend you some money or help you out in other ways. And maybe, just maybe, they really mean it. Maybe they honestly wish you didn’t have it so hard and they really want to see you do good things because suffering is hard to watch. But most of those same people – most of the people in this world – never, ever want to see you do better than them. They only help you because it makes THEM feel better and they think it puts you above them. They give you something because they feel like you will owe them for that. They serve in a selfish way and that is only a service to them. But why do people do this? Why do people try to sabotage or minimize other’s success instead of working on their own?
Why don’t people want you to do better than them? Well…
It forces them to look at their lives
Some people in this world are always going to look at themselves in the mirror and say, “At least I am not so-and-so.” or “At least I don’t have so-and-so’s life”. This isn’t necessarily bad when paired with empathy and action to help others, but most people use this a means of judgment and by proxy, validation that their shitty life doesn’t need changing because they don’t have it as bad as someone else. Well, those people need to look at themselves in the mirror for longer and if they don’t see something they can be proud of, without having to bring someone down to lift themselves up, then they need to go be someone they can be proud of because it doesn’t matter who has it worse if your life isn’t what you want, to begin with.
Looking at yourself and seeing something you don’t like is hard. I did it for a long time. I still do it sometimes, on those days when I can’t get my mental shit together or when I am looking back at the mistakes I made, but I never feel the urge to bring anyone down with me, because I know that life is up and down. Zig and zag. Back and forth. Sometimes you are on the top and sometimes you are on the bottom and you are going to see all the same people over and over, on the way up and on the way down, because they are riding the same elevator. You might as well make friends, play nice and be happy that you are not alone on the ride.
It makes them envious
There are two types of envy; malicious envy and benign envy. Benign envy is a positive form of envy that can push us to work harder to accomplish what others have accomplished because we want what they have. It’s not petty and insulting and disgruntled. It is internal and creates a sense of urgency and activity in pursuing achievement.
Malicious envy, however, sounds like what it is. It is the sort of envy that makes you angry, resentful and potentially aggressive towards what someone else has. Malicious envy exists a lot more than benign envy because it is easier. It is much easier for me to talk shit about someone and what they have accomplished than it is for me to get off my ass and accomplish it myself.
Malicious envy sounds like this.
“Fuck working towards change or accomplishment. All I have to do is criticize and ridicule what someone else has or does and make it seem like such a minor, bullshit accomplishment that I never have to feel inferior to them. Even though I secretly, really want to accomplish what they just did. But that requires effort and I don’t want to do that part so whatever that person just did is stupid and worthless.”
Sound familiar? This kind of envy almost always follows success, in some form. Behind your back or right to your face, people are going to try to cut you down to the size they think you should be. Don’t give these people the time of day. They think you see yourself as better than them and they want what you have. Take it as a compliment that you consume enough of their thoughts that they take the time to wish you harm and move on. You have better things to do.
It makes you intimidating
You now intimidate some people. You make certain people feel inferior because you are doing some good shit in your life, and when they see that get really small and petty. They talk shit about you behind your back. They try to cut you down and bring you back to a place just below them, where you belong. They will do whatever it takes to get one step above you in whatever area of life they can find. Socially. Financially. Materially. Whatever. Because you have accomplished something by working hard and being disciplined, you are going to intimidate some people so much that they will be scared. People fear what they don’t understand and it seems like people have yet to understand that hard work and discipline is a not-so-fucking-secret recipe for success in most aspects of life.
People are going to try to strip you of a lot of the joy and accomplishment you gain through your hard work if they think it is going to put you above them. Friends. Relatives. Strangers. That’s just how it is. If you realize this, you can make an effort to keep the people who build you up as close as possible and remove yourself from those who don’t; a buffer zone against the negativity that maliciously envious people throw to bring you back down to their level. That will give you the strength to keep being great, keep making improvements, keep grasping for more and keep doing good. And that will always make you better than most.