The #1 Killer of Success
schadenfreude (/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdᵊ/; German: [ˈʃaːdn̩ˌfʁɔɪdə] ; ‘harm-joy’) is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Borrowed from German into English and several other languages, it is a feeling of joy that comes from seeing or hearing about another person’s troubles or failures.
People that aren’t successful, that aren’t happy, that aren’t trying . . . they suffer from, and struggle with, a case of schadenfreude. It’s a disease. And it’s super contagious. If you aren’t aware of it, you need to be.
But before I get into this less-than-upbeat blog post about schadenfreude, I wanted to provide some comic relief in the form of real-life examples. Thank you, urban dictionary.
• watching a vegetarian being told they just ate chicken
• being on the elevator when somebody shouts “hold the door!”
• straight-A students getting Bs
• watching tourists reading maps
• football players getting tackled
• CEOs getting shackled
• watching someone getting pulled over by the cops
Schadenfreude is saying (with a shit-eating grin):
I told you so.
And schadenfreude is everywhere. I see more schadenfreude than encouragement, more schadenfreude than support, more schadenfreude than love (but that’s my fault, so I’m going to stop watching the news).
I’m not sure what it is that makes people throw shade (sling mud) at people while they sit behind a computer (and in real life, but more often, behind a computer). They’re some savages out there. It’s truly fascinating.
Maybe it’s because people like easy shit. And free shit. And sitting behind a computer and talking shit is free AND easy.
The media has an excuse. They’re just giving us what we want. Sit in a New York City cab for 5 minutes and watch the headlines bar scroll at the bottom of the news screen.
Murder. Rape. Knife. Accident. Scandal. Problems. Attack. Repair. Collision. Donald Trump. Life is horrible. Hillary Clinton. Let’s all die. We are all idiots. Your life doesn’t matter. Your wife doesn’t love you. You were a mistake. Fuck you.
Because apparently that’s what generates the most clicks. People love that shit (it’s literally shit). We cannot blame the media.
But society? We must provide an answer. Why are we attracted to the negative? Companies have researched it. It’s what we want. But why?
Is our world filled with that much hate? I’d like to think that’s not the case. Is there more hate than love? I’d like to think that is also not the case. Why do people think that pointing out the flaws of others somehow brings them closer to perfection? Are they just deflecting? How could anyone come to this conclusion?
People love to say it. But, the truth is, you are a loser, down to your core, when you derive more pleasure from the mistakes of others than you do from your own success. You are a loser, if you derive more pleasure from telling someone they are wrong than you do from being right.
And we see it in Politics as well. Targeted campaigns don’t address any real issues. It’s a middle school food fight.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t sell you a platform. Donald Trump doesn’t sell you a solution.
They try and sell you hate.
Donald Trump is not fit to be the President of the United States.
Okay? So what the fuck does that have to do with you? Can you not prove to me that you ARE fit to be the President? Would anything else matter if you could?
Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted.
Great. Thanks for wasting my time. And for promoting hate.
We were all forced to watch a debate on October 9th, that had nothing to do with progress. We have two candidates that never speak of what THEY can do. Their campaigns revolve around proving to voters that they are the lesser of two evils.
Instead of convincing the voter of how safe she could be, Hillary tried to convince you that Donald Trump is dangerous.
Instead of convincing the voter of his honesty (I know, it’s a joke), Donald Trump wanted to convince you that Hillary is a liar.
How does that do any good . . . for anyone?
Maybe it’s because of the internet. The internet gets blamed for everything else, why not blame it for this too.
There’s an incredible amount of information that is literally at our fingertips, begging for our attention, our eyes, our ears.
And everything is archived. Everything is out there. Facebook is literally documenting your every move. The internet is ready to ride if you’re on the hunt for some dirt. If you want it, you will find it. These campaign attack ads don’t require a lot of digging.
Or . . . maybe . . . people are under the impression that there is a limited number of seats at the winners table. People want to be successful, or rich, or famous, or all of the above. Maybe people think that they’ve got to clear out some space for themselves, and you can either add more seats to the table, or try and rip somebody else out of theirs.
Sure, you could work your ass off to dunk a basketball. But why not just lower the rim?
Deriving pleasure from the pain of others isn’t the real problem. Even the most successful people can at times become envious, critical, even discouraging. However, you can root for yourself and pull others down at the same time.
The real problem is when more pleasure is derived from the misfortune of others than from your own success. If everyone thought like this, nothing would ever be accomplished.
How easy is it to voice an opinion for the reasons why you don’t like a particular car? How easy is it to envision, design, and build a car? Should these people ever be discussed in the same breath?
The good news for all of the people that don’t throw shade is that successful people don’t really care what anyone else thinks. They don’t have time. That’s why they’re at the top. And although some people throw shade, they might actually be helping you out. “There is no bad publicity” is, for the most part, true. I mean, look at Kanye West.
But what kind of society have we created? Why do we spread so much hate, when all we've ever needed is love?
It’s disheartening that some people choose to criticize others before trying something for themselves. It takes an incredible amount of courage to build something, write something, change something, be something.
It doesn’t take anything at all to point fingers.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
What we really need is anti-schadenfreude. We’re all in this together.
anti-schadenfreude (/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdᵊ/; German: [ˈʃaːdn̩ˌfʁɔɪdə] ; ‘harm-pain’) is pain derived from the misfortune of others. Borrowed from German into English and several other languages, it is a feeling of pain that comes from seeing or hearing about another person’s troubles or failures.