Envy is a sign that something needs to change
I was participating in an interesting discussion last night regarding the news of Cisco’s acquisition of AppDynamics for $3.7B. A friend of mine knows someone who made over $400M in the deal. That’s life-changing money indeed. Jokingly he said that he now felt the urge to write an article about money not buying happiness. As expected, the usual reactions occurred. Of course, we all know that big money wouldn’t change us and we would stay humble and happy. Right?
But, it did cause me to reflect on life in Silicon Valley and how much time is spent feeling envious and jealous. We are surrounded by numerous millionaires and a few billionaires. A day doesn’t go by that someone isn’t talking about an acquisition, an IPO, a major funding milestone, someone’s new home, a new car, etc. It changes your expectations for what success means. Material possessions are a key performance indicator in that environment. Unfortunately, the odds don’t work in our favor in terms of our own attempts to be the next big winner. Most startups fail. That’s the cold hard truth. Most employees will not become millionaires. That’s reality too.
Yesterday, I wrote about comparison being the thief of joy. If the odds are against you becoming the next billionaire, spending your days comparing your life to them is a recipe for unhappiness. Feeling envy with each big announcement is a sign that your goals need to change, and you need to think about how you want to live your life each and every day.
Is that pursuit of wealth ensuring that you can’t enjoy your life now? Will your image of success and happiness always be relegated to some ideal future state, which will probably never occur?
Rather than choosing a goal that is only achieved by 0.7% of the people in the world, I know that I would rather take control of how I live my life each and every day. That is under my control. That is something I know I can achieve. It is something that I know we all can achieve. 100% of us, instead of the 0.7%.
It does require that you stop comparing yourself to others.
It does require that you stop letting others define success for you.
It does require that you really think about what it means for you to be happy and content.
It does require that you take back control of your career and how you live your life every day.
But, the good news is that this is entirely possible, and much easier to achieve than the .00002% chance of becoming a billionaire.