• Coworker envy is part of human nature and happens all the time
  • Malicious envy will turn you into a bitter person and derail your career
  • Use the power of envy to make positive changes and use gratitude to boost your happiness
It happens every fucking time you see them in their office or presenting in front of the group. It triggers a series of thoughts that you just can’t get out of your head. It’s automatic.

It usually starts with the fact that they’re higher in the organizational hierarchy than you. This means that they’re making more money than you. They probably also own a home in an affluent zip code with a kickass school district and drive a lux car, unlike the beater commuter car you’ve got.

Then, you take a look at your position in life, immediately see that your life is shittier in comparison and ask yourself, “Why can’t I have that?! I work just as hard as they do and I don’t have much to show for it.”

For the next few hours, your mind is completely distracted and you can’t get shit done because all you’re thinking about is how much better off they are than you and how you’re getting the short end of the stick in life.

Coworker Envy Is Real And Can Derail You Big Time

If it feels like you're spending the majority of your day scoping out all that your coworkers seem to have going on in their lives, chances are, you're living with coworker envy. You know what we mean - from getting promotions and bumps in salary to living a perfect lifestyle in the perfect neighborhood. It feels like they have it all.

And even though we want nothing more than to celebrate their success, often their accomplishments end up making us second guess ourselves, question our own value and generally make us feel shitty because our lives in comparison are in the gutter.

This kind of mental life comparison happens to everybody. Every. Single. Person. It’s ingrained in human nature and it’s part of our deeply embedded mental programming. After humans figured out how to survive during the caveman days, the survival mechanism matured to higher levels. It expanded to more complex emotions beyond just simple hunger, fear, thirst and sleep.

According to this study from Frontiers in Psychology, complex emotions like envy and jealousy can be explained in evolutionary terms. Humans simply want to maximize pain avoidance and pleasure seeking further. Being alive isn’t good enough anymore. You want to be able to throw Benjamins in the air like you just don’t care. But, how you go about this makes a huge difference.

There are two kinds of envy - benign and malicious envy.

Benign envy is all about using energy from envy to make your own life better or as good as the other person you compare yourself to. This is the best way to use the power of envy to your advantage.

Malicious envy is the opposite. This is when somebody uses their energy to bring others down by doing shitty things like throwing them under the bus, backstabbing, playing dirty office politics, etc.

These kinds of moves are pretty common among office assholes because they don’t have the intelligence, capability or discipline to control and direct their energy in the positive direction. They only know how to be an asshole.

Acts driven by malicious envy may sometimes work in the short run but over the long run, all it will do is tank your personal brand and you won’t be any further ahead. In fact, it’s common for people to sink further and make their work lives even worse.

So before things get too carried away and that feeling of envy takes a toll on your overall confidence levels (not good!), let's talk about how exactly you can use this energy in a good way. 

Use Envy To Power Positive Progress

Envy is a powerful emotion that can either make or break you. However, instead of using it to bring down others, why not flip the script and use it as fuel to improve yourself?

The grass may seem greener on the other side of the cubicle wall, but that doesn't mean you can't water your own lawn and make it just as luscious. Rather than letting envy consume you with negativity, you gotta redirect that energy toward making positive changes in your own work life.

Take notes on what specifically you admire about your coworker's successes and see if you can apply those same principles to your own work ethic to improve your lifestyle.

Ask them about how they crush all their grunt work so easily.

Get their advice on how they Feng Shui their office desk to optimize their focus.

Find out how they got that internal transfer to the marketing department.

What tactics do they use to play office politics the smart AF way?

How do they always get the recognition they deserve for all the hard work they do?

Whatever it is that you’re envious about, write it down and then, prioritize it to a list of the top five things. Then, maybe ask if they’d be interested in being a peer mentor and get their insight on those top things.

Instead of being jealous of your coworker, try to learn from them and their success. Find out how they got there and adapt their strategies to improve your own performance. Turn envy into inspiration and use it to make positive changes in your work life.

Practice Gratitude To Offset Envy And Boost Happiness

Maybe you don’t want to be an over-acheiver, but simply want to get rid of the bad envy mojo. Well, here’s your solution.

An additional option to manage coworker envy is to level-set yourself. We’re always looking up and seeing how much better things are for those who have more of the good things in life. You gotta broaden your view in all directions.

Believe it or not, your career is way more successful than you think. The simple fact that you have an office job is tremendous. There are people who have been unemployed for so long that they may be evicted soon. Then there are people out there who have real back-breaking jobs where the possibility of losing your life is real. The only thing that is close to life-threatening at your work is the shitty office coffee being scalding hot.

Expand this even further.

Right now, as you’re reading this, there are people in this world who are being physically tortured or are living in a war-torn nation. These people are begging and praying to live through the night so that they can be alive tomorrow. They would do anything to be in your shoes, living a life where your life isn’t in danger. You have food, shelter, clothing and safety - that’s all they’d want and nothing more.

By taking a broader view of things, you can see that you’re actually doing really well in life. And by recognizing how good you have it, you’ll begin to feel grateful for what you have instead of being envious of others who may have more than you.

Practicing gratitude is a simple little trick to triggering happiness and eliminating negative envious emotions. And the best way to do this is to counteract negative envy with positive gratitude.

For every negative envy emotion you have, write down one thing that you’re grateful for. This could be your fav pair of jeans, the puffy clouds today, your furry four-legged bestie, etc. There are 101 reasons to smile right now and be grateful.

It’s a simple little mind hack that works every time. Practicing gratitude makes office life easier and will do wonders for resetting your mindset positively. At a minimum, it will level-set your outlook. But more likely, it will improve things.

Turn The Tables On Coworker Envy & Focus On Your Happiness

Humans have evolved from being survival seeking cave-dwellers to envious office workers. We’re all programmed now to always want what we don’t have. It’s the endless hedonic treadmill of wanting more, even though we’re all doing okay with what we already have.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting more. And, if that’s what you’re striving for, use the power of envy to drive your focus and efforts to make positive progress in your life. The key is to get in the zone and do things one step, one action and one task at a time. Get early and quick wins so that you can celebrate small victories to create and maintain momentum.

Alternatively, you can also just eliminate the bad mojo and get back to steady cruise control by grounding yourself with gratitude. When you acknowledge that your life is pretty damn good and that you shouldn’t be whining, your perspective and mindset change for the better and you can manage work stress much more effectively.

Whichever option you pursue, you’ll get to where you want to be. And when you do, you’ll turn the tables on envy. Soon enough, there might be some coworkers who are mad jealous of your renewed life and that’s when you know you made it.

Feel Better,

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