Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Coping with Evny at Others' Success

How do you guys cope with envy at other's professional and f jj8206/30/17
You may want to ask your parents whether you were adopted gi john0906/30/17
We all struggle with comparison. However, it truly is relati ejs201706/30/17
Does having more money (the same level as your friends/famil beat12307/02/17
Ignore it. As a government employee I've accepted my middle flyer1406/30/17
flyer14 is right. NO matter how rich you get, someone else blakesq06/30/17
Prolly your East Asian blood setting you up for butthurt... triplesix06/30/17
If such people do or say things that make you feel inadequat qdllc06/30/17
This was the latter point of my message qdllc: these people jj8206/30/17
I just DGAF or I try my best not to. isthisit06/30/17
The envy isn't a terrible thing if dealt with rationally and anonattempt06/30/17
It is common to feel inadequate if your peers are doing "bet uknownvalue06/30/17
Start a punk band or do art on the side. Become the bohemian therewillbeblood06/30/17
Their professional lives have nothing to do with yours. Foc junkwired06/30/17
You have to get over it. If necessary, spend some time patenttrollnj06/30/17
Thanks...I think this is sound advice, and a rational perspe jj8206/30/17
That's an exceptionally high amount of money, so your brothe patenttrollnj06/30/17
evny is not a good thing. superttthero06/30/17
Envy=counting other people's money triplesix06/30/17
I too have this sense of envy. My age is similar to yours a cheapbrass06/30/17
If you could go back to your late 20s/early 30s, what would junkwired06/30/17
I would have taken some career risks (maybe started my own f cheapbrass06/30/17
That's the problem. You're told to surround yourself with s sanka06/30/17
Be happy with what you have. I avoid snobby people altogethe fettywap06/30/17
I hear you. Both of my siblings are surgeons with spouses w jd4hire06/30/17
Lot's of great advice in this thread. Envy will eat you up f plumber06/30/17
The key difference between my wife and me is that she does n jj8206/30/17
You are in good company. I feel the same way. It sounds plumber06/30/17
Comparison is the thief of joy. darknight06/30/17
What most people do, sooner or later, is to essentially find onehell06/30/17
I used to be envious of other people, but then my son was bo thirdtierlaw06/30/17
Wise words thirdtierlaw. It is an acute point you make--I v jj8207/03/17
Stay in your lane brother. The Good News must be spread: www vohod06/30/17
Envy is just not an emotion I know. Prolonged diversity has redemptionsong07/01/17
Capitalism is a killjoy. Communism or socialism or progress sanka07/01/17
Envy is the worst sin because it's the only one you can't ha palmtree1907/01/17
I control envy by remembering that death is the ultimate equ kancho07/01/17
OP, if I recall correctly, you had some trouble back then be malletofmalice07/03/17
"and are nicer, kinder humans than I am" OP this is telli rastaman07/03/17
To be fair, just remind yourself everything is vanity. You, karlmarx07/03/17

jj82 (Jun 30, 2017 - 9:29 am)

How do you guys cope with envy at other's professional and financial success? I am objectively, doing fine and happy...but coming from my background (East Asian), nearly all friends/family are in the 0.1% and make more money in a year than I will in a good decade+. Even my family members and extendedf family, like my brother-in-law who is a genuinely kind, humble, caring great guy is now making millions in the VC sector. I have heard some people suggest a notion of "Ehh, they are probably a$$holes anyway or are lacking something else..." but that compensatory comping mechanism actually doesn't work for the people I know since they DO have it all (and I am talking about close friends and people like my brother-in-law, siblings, close friends where I know the dirty laundry, if any) -- they have a great wife/husband, reasonable hours with plenty of time made for their kids, a gazillion bucks...and are nicer, kinder humans than I am. I guess the more accurate question is how does one cope with humans that are a close, daily part of your inner life that are simply better specimens than you. How does one remove the innate comparing/competitiveness from one's psyche?

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john09 (Jun 30, 2017 - 12:29 pm)

You may want to ask your parents whether you were adopted given that you aren't as successful as the rest of your family. No big deal - every family has secrets, though you may be the secret.

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ejs2017 (Jun 30, 2017 - 5:30 pm)

We all struggle with comparison. However, it truly is relative. Those who seem to have it all inhabit their own mini version of hell.

I was sitting at bar with a buddy who was going through major depression following a failed business venture and faced with divorce. As we sat there talking, he begins to confide in me about how much envies me, my family, how I am with my kids, my job, et cetera, and how much he wishes he had approached life like I did or something along those lines. I was floored because in my head I was going through a major prolonged bout of self-pity feeling like I was a failure because I wasn't making as much money as I wanted to, because I chose the wrong career, because I wimped out by not joining the military, and so on.

Like blakesq said, there is always someone out there with more and a hundred times more with less. Be grateful for what you have. Use your brother-in-law's venture capital success as a motivator. Applaud his success and see if he'll mentor you or, better yet, hire you.

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beat123 (Jul 2, 2017 - 9:07 am)

Does having more money (the same level as your friends/family) matter to you? You should focus on what is important to you.

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flyer14 (Jun 30, 2017 - 9:33 am)

Ignore it. As a government employee I've accepted my middle class existence, short of starting a business on the side. My car runs good, I make my house payment every month, other bills get paid, and I hang out with friends on a regular basis.

you can't control what other people do but you can control how you react to it.

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blakesq (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:02 am)

flyer14 is right. NO matter how rich you get, someone else will always have a bigger house, nicer car, younger wife. Another thing to remember, the more money you make, the more money you spend, the bigger mortgage you carry, the bigger car payment, etc etc.

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triplesix (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:05 am)

Prolly your East Asian blood setting you up for butthurt... Get over it, presumably you are an adult male.

Either you are not as smart or as lucky, or likely both.

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qdllc (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:05 am)

If such people do or say things that make you feel inadequate because they really are looking down on you, cut them out of your life.

I don't envy, so much, people I associate with who have it better than I do, but if they were to keep pointing out that I'm not as well off...well, I don't need that in my life.

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jj82 (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:44 am)

This was the latter point of my message qdllc: these people do nothing like that. They do quite the opposite--they are all humble, giving, kind people to me. That is part of the reason I feel more frustrated and envious lol.

I think triplesix nails it on the head (and yes, adult male)--I am simply not as smart, nor as hardworking when looking at the totality of the past 20 years (I am nearly 40). Very few of the people I know were just handed any of their success...most of them focused and worked very hard, exercised discipline in focus ever since I can remember once we all turned 18 and went to college. And the after college, they continued this focus and discipline to move swiftly and productively through their careers (and some of them are still even in their 20s already finding this success).

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isthisit (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:24 am)

I just DGAF or I try my best not to.

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anonattempt (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:47 am)

The envy isn't a terrible thing if dealt with rationally and from a healthy mindset. It may drive you to further succeed.

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uknownvalue (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:57 am)

It is common to feel inadequate if your peers are doing "better" than you. However, it helps to remember that everyone, including you, is going to die one day.

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therewillbeblood (Jun 30, 2017 - 11:03 am)

Start a punk band or do art on the side. Become the bohemian THEY are secretly jealous of.

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junkwired (Jun 30, 2017 - 11:49 am)

Their professional lives have nothing to do with yours. Focusing on them will hold you back. Further, it appears your metric for success is solely money. That's a problem.

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patenttrollnj (Jun 30, 2017 - 12:07 pm)

You have to get over it.

If necessary, spend some time wallowing in envy to get it out of your system. However, you MUST eventually overcome it, or it will consume you.

My advice: know that you are NOT the only person unsatisfied with their lot in life, nor are you the only person that overworked to achieve less than what they wanted. So take some comfort in knowing that there are others out there just like you -- and YES, that includes many, many East Asians.

Also, do not presume people are doing well simply because they tell you they are. People often exaggerate their success, so take things with a grain of salt.

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jj82 (Jun 30, 2017 - 12:22 pm)

Thanks...I think this is sound advice, and a rational perspective. But on your last part about "don't assume people are doing well..." --> yes, that is correct when it comes to so-and-so you meet a cocktail party or friend x's husband...but no salt to be taken when you actually see the $1 million direct deposit slip (my brother-in-law got paid that). As I said, nothing shown to be boastful or bragging by him, he did not offer...but me and my sister just really wanted to see it because why wouldn't anyone want to lol so we told him to show us.

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patenttrollnj (Jun 30, 2017 - 3:45 pm)

That's an exceptionally high amount of money, so your brother-in-law is a rare case. It's not a typical situation that you're in; however, it IS your situation, so it seems typical from your perspective--but always remember that it is not.

Regardless, you have to learn to cope. There are profoundly worse circumstances out there. Other people deal with things like cancer.

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superttthero (Jun 30, 2017 - 1:32 pm)

evny is not a good thing.

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triplesix (Jun 30, 2017 - 1:33 pm)

Envy=counting other people's money

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cheapbrass (Jun 30, 2017 - 1:37 pm)

I too have this sense of envy. My age is similar to yours and my situation is probably similar too. Decent professional job/salary in the low six-figures. Surrounded by much more successful people. Sadly, I've coped by accepting that this is my lot in life. At around 40, you can pretty much see the remaining years of your career, not much can change at age 40. If your career was going to advance, it would have happened already. This is cruise control age for your career, focus on your family and hope your kids will be better than your successful family/friend's kids.

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junkwired (Jun 30, 2017 - 1:48 pm)

If you could go back to your late 20s/early 30s, what would you do different?

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cheapbrass (Jun 30, 2017 - 2:58 pm)

I would have taken some career risks (maybe started my own firm), while my opportunity cost (salary) was low and I had less responsibilities.

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sanka (Jun 30, 2017 - 2:25 pm)

That's the problem. You're told to surround yourself with successful people to advance your life. But your law "career" is at a dead end. You will always be pitied and never respected. Best to drop out, disconnect your phone, and make new friends with some illiterate immigrants who don't know better,

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fettywap (Jun 30, 2017 - 2:30 pm)

Be happy with what you have. I avoid snobby people altogether. The wealthy people I know are nice and well-mannered. I would much rather hang out with them than poor, uneducated people any day. The poor people are the ones who try to look down on me for not being a married housewife. : / I have a few millionaire classmates that I definitely envy, but they are also very nice people and I'm glad they are successful.

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jd4hire (Jun 30, 2017 - 2:47 pm)

I hear you. Both of my siblings are surgeons with spouses who also do very well. They each have three children and really seem like everything is just perfect. I do know they spend more and carry more costs, but I wouldn't mind that problem.

I'm a little younger and still have some optimism that I may not reach their level of success, but that I might get close. Who knows what the next 8 years will bring though.

I've also accepted that my siblings will be better off monetarily. The one thing I have is that they are jealous of my rambunctious youth and extensive traveling. They were busy making babies during med school while I was backpacking around the globe. They'll be on 5 star safaris though before too long...

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plumber (Jun 30, 2017 - 2:49 pm)

Lot's of great advice in this thread. Envy will eat you up from the inside. The only thing I can add is that we all strive for greater good. Every second of every waking minute of every day, we are all constantly seeking greater good and more comfort.. even your millionaire friends. Also, if you had the chance to live a minute in their shoes, you just might want to jump back out into your own. Things are not always as they appear.

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jj82 (Jun 30, 2017 - 3:42 pm)

The key difference between my wife and me is that she does not suffer envy. She is happy for anyone's success, be it close friends or family. I am always comparing and as someone said, this will rob you of happiness. My bro-in-law worked and works his ass off and sacrificed. I did not that at that level. If I went back to my 20s, I would have certainly not gone to law school, and I would have focused on finding my direction professionally and moving forward. Now, I am like many post-law school recovering lawyers playing catch-up in my career.

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plumber (Jun 30, 2017 - 4:22 pm)

You are in good company. I feel the same way.

It sounds like you have a great wife who is not only happy for others, but is also content and happy with her own life. That is enviable, and likely something many men envy of you!

I will leave you a couple quotes from two of my favorite philosophers:

"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion." - Ralph Waldo Emerson from 'Self-Reliance'

"Other passions have objects to flatter them, and which seem to content and satisfy them for a while. There is power in ambition, pleasure in luxury, and pelf in covetousness; but envy can gain nothing but vexation." - Michel de Montaigne

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darknight (Jun 30, 2017 - 2:57 pm)

Comparison is the thief of joy.

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onehell (Jun 30, 2017 - 3:35 pm)

What most people do, sooner or later, is to essentially find their tribe. You stay in touch with people who are within a standard deviation of you (up or down) and the rest sorta fade from your daily life over time. Interestingly, it seems to happen with family too. The megarich cousin and the black sheep both just stop showing up to the Christmas party, and so forth.

You don't really have to do anything, it just sorta happens naturally. The rest just sorta become people you used to know. They will pop up on your Facebook from time to time and you might run into them at a wedding/reunion/funeral or something, but that's about it and you can press the button to keep them off your feed if it bothers you that much. The point is that people who are that much richer than you (or that much poorer) are going to be people you don't have a lot in common with most of the time. You'll drift apart and out of sight, out of mind.

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thirdtierlaw (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:32 pm)

I used to be envious of other people, but then my son was born. It was a huge drain on our finances compared to all my friends without kids. When I stopped and thought about whether I'd trade having my son for another 20 years of nice vacations or new car it was a resounding no. It then all clicked into place.

You are solely responsible for finding happiness in your own life. Maybe your brother in law finds joy from his work and every aspect of his life. That has no effect on your ability to find satisfaction in your own life. Happiness is not a zero sum game. You said he was extremely driven in his 20s. Awesome. You said you weren't. That tells me one thing, you valued something different than he did. That is 100% okay.

It is a hard lesson to learn, and there are times that I slip, but then I just think about how fortunate I truly am and move on.

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jj82 (Jul 3, 2017 - 10:12 am)

Wise words thirdtierlaw. It is an acute point you make--I valued my relationship with my wife, as I was aware of and grateful for finding the love of my life early. The key to anything is gratefulness. Even in this narrow context, I know plenty of people who have successful siblings, siblings-in-law, etc. that are complete a$$holes...so even my situation I know at an intellectual, objective level I should be grateful for my bro-in-law being who he is, beyond the more macro areas of life.

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vohod (Jun 30, 2017 - 11:27 pm)

Stay in your lane brother. The Good News must be spread: www.cliquetheory.com

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redemptionsong (Jul 1, 2017 - 9:59 am)

Envy is just not an emotion I know. Prolonged diversity has made me a pretty contented person where I am now.

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sanka (Jul 1, 2017 - 12:33 pm)

Capitalism is a killjoy. Communism or socialism or progressive whatever is better because everyone is broke or poor and there is no one to pity you or disrespect you for your financial failure given your JD.

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palmtree19 (Jul 1, 2017 - 1:50 pm)

Envy is the worst sin because it's the only one you can't have any fun with. -- Charlie Munger

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kancho (Jul 1, 2017 - 2:44 pm)

I control envy by remembering that death is the ultimate equalizer. You, nor any of those very successful wealthy family members and friends, will be remembered by anyone in a mere 200 years.

Related to that fact is that money is an infinite resource, while time is most definitely finite. You say you have rich family members that work good hours. Even then, you and they probably have a similar level of free time.

Knowing that I've engineered my life to maximize free time and that one day we all die and will be forgotten. That's how I remove any thought of envy or jealousy of others.

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malletofmalice (Jul 3, 2017 - 1:45 am)

OP, if I recall correctly, you had some trouble back then because of the great recession, when your friends/family were able to weather that storm somehow. That's ok. Everyone who went through that period knows that success is more about luck and timing rather than merit.

Also, just because they make more money doesn't make their life any better than yours. I bet they have to deal with asshats/politics all the time or are working 90+ hours a week.

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rastaman (Jul 3, 2017 - 11:25 am)

"and are nicer, kinder humans than I am"

OP this is telling. A great man once said "Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen." Best generic advice I could ever give to anybody. Also, not sure what your religious persuasion is, but if you truly feel you are missing out on something in life - and religion is not something currently in your life - I think I know what is missing.

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karlmarx (Jul 3, 2017 - 11:33 am)

To be fair, just remind yourself everything is vanity. You, your brother, everyone is merely a grain of sand on the bench of the universe. Nothing has any sort of meaning and will perish from existence soon enough and never be remembered again. The most powerful richest individual and the most wretched homeless person share the same fate and the same relegation into complete nonmemory. "Success" is rather silly vanity in that context.

You can't control outside events, only your reaction to them. Marcus aurelieus and epictetus are both great reflections on this topic.

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