Three years ago, my friend Mike Preuss shared Naval Ravikant’s thoughts on jealousy with me. Here’s what Naval had to say:
Jealousy was a very hard emotion for me to overcome. When I was young, I had a lot of jealousy in me. . . . It still crops up every now and then. It’s such a poisonous emotion because, at the end of the day, [I was] no better off. [I was] unhappier, and the person [I was] jealous of [was] still successful or good-looking or whatever . . .
The real breakthrough for me was when I realized . . . that all these people that I was jealous of, I couldn’t just cherrypick and choose little aspects of their life. I couldn’t say I want his body, I want her money, I want his personality. [I] have to be that person. Do [I] want to actually be that person, with all of their reactions, their desires, their family, their happiness level, their outlook on life, their self-image? If [I am] not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7, 100% swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous.
I love this approach. No more trading pieces. If I want to trade, I have to trade the whole thing. Forcing myself through this exercise, I am reminded of all the things in my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It is easy to compare aspects of my life to others and become unhappy. But on the whole, I don’t want to be anybody else. Being anybody else means I lose all the aspects of my life that are deeply meaningful to me.
Other people’s lives can inspire me. But as soon as I find myself becoming envious of them, I apply Naval’s wisdom. Would I do a wholesale, 24/7, 100% swap of my life for that person’s life?
I welcome your thoughts and thank you for reading,
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