Question: I am jealous over my college classmates' early successes in life, whereas I still need to go through the daily grind.
Some of them are even just coasting along, perhaps retired already. I believe I was dealt an unfair hand by fate. What do you think? Asked at "Ask a Friend, Ask Efren" free service at www.personalfinance.ph, SMS, Viber, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook
Answer: It is good that you are admitting your jealousy over the success of your college classmates. That jealousy can have two different outcomes in your life. But before I reveal them, let's talk about the three emotion systems we all possess. These are the drive, threat and soothing systems.
The drive system motivates us to achieve success and leads us to want and focus on success. The threat system helps detect danger and protects us from it by leading to feelings of anxiety, anger, and even disgust. Now there can be situations where we are too driven or overly fearful. This is when we need the soothing system to manage distress and promote bonding between the two other systems. This leads us to feel content, safe, protected, cared-for and trusting.
The natural consequence of your jealousy is anger and anxiety. hat is only because you see the achievements of others as a threat to you. But that begs the question, "Why?" If you fixate on this threat, you will overwork your threat emotion system and produce elevated hormones, which could figuratively fry your brain and lead to the ulceration of your stomach lining; in short, stress.
So, rather than allowing your jealousy to lead to anger and impact your health, channel that energy to fire up your drive system to make you successful in your own right. Make the success between you and your college classmates even.
We all need to be pursuing, achieving, and progressing in life. Jealousy will help you become more wanting for and focused on success within your own capabilities or in a way that only you know how. Follow the paraphrased Winner's Creed, which goes:
"If you think you are beaten, you are; if you think you dare not, you don't; If you'd like to win, but think you can't, it's almost a cinch you won't. If you think you'll lose, you're lost. For out in the world we find success begins with a person's faith. It's all in the state of mind. Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster hand; they go to the one who trusts in God and always thinks I can."
Do not forget that you will need to temper your own brand of success because being too driven can also lead to stress. And this is where you need to realize that your success is not just for you but also for the benefit of others.
So, use the power of your soothing system to manage the delicate balance between your drive and threat emotion systems. For many years from now, when all the glory of successes has faded, when all that is left of you is but a tombstone, what people will remember is how you lived your life.
In the movie "Bucket List," Morgan Freeman uttered these lines, "You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not. The first question was, 'Have you found joy in your life?' The second question was, 'Has your life brought joy to others?'"
So, do get angry and make success even. INQ
Efren Ll. Cruz is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines, seasoned investment adviser, bestselling author of personal finance books in the Philippines. To consult with a Yaman coach, email [email protected] To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 92nd RFP Program in October. To inquire, email [email protected] or text at 0917-.6248110
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