If we look hard enough we will always find someone just like us who has done more, who earns more, who has a better body, a more attractive partner, who has a bigger house, better children and so on. So why on earth torture ourselves by actively looking for people like this?
People who are inspired by the achievements of others, see the achiever and see the possibility of what they can do and be themselves. They see someone who has 'made it' as a role model, as a motivator and as proof that they are on track to achieve their own goals and dreams.
For the people who look at the achiever with envy and even resentment, all of their fears, insecurities and frustrations come bubbling to the surface.
It is okay to admit if you feel envy and resentment at others' success but start doing something about it. Surely it would be much better to look at these achievers and to be inspired by them rather than resentful of them?
The best way to start doing this is to look at success a little deeper. Most of the time we find out about someone once they have become a success. In other words, we only see the final product. Everything looks perfect and the successful person is the epitome of all the things that deep down we want to be.
The bits we don't see are the sacrifices they have made, often over many years, to achieve their dreams. We don't see the things they missed out on to achieve their goals and we certainly don't see the price they have paid.
I remember listening to an interview with Ian Thorpe, Australia's swimming legend, talking about the life he led to become a goldmedal Olympian. Every single day, from when he was a kid, he was in the pool from 5 am for hours before school. Then, after school and on weekends, he was back in the pool, again for hours. Imagine the things he missed out on as kid. Imagine what it must have been like day after day, year after year, getting back into that pool, swimming lap after lap? Most of us would give up after a few days!
Zig Ziglar, entrepreneur and all-round guru, said, 'Success is dependent upon the glands - sweat glands.' I see so many people who are hugely successful in business and have all of the trappings of success. What is the common trait they all share? They work incredibly hard. The sacrifices that many of these people make to succeed in business are really quite daunting. They have to risk everything and they often fail before they achieve success.
It is hard to imagine this if you have never had your own business, but think what it would be like if your world could come crashing down pretty much every day due to circumstances beyond your control, like a global financial crisis. Why would you bother? Who would live with this risk? Millions of people do.
If we are prepared to do everything they have done - work crazy hours, have enormous amounts of stress and sacrifice time with family and loved ones - we can have the same degree of success. Of course there is no guarantee, but if you are not prepared to put in the effort, I guarantee that you won't have the success.
Even those people who appear to become successful easily have put a huge amount of effort into getting where they are. Even more simple success - like a friend who seems to have their life together, the perfect partner, a good job, a nice car and so on - takes effort and sacrifice and hard work, just in a different way. They have worked on themselves, either consciously or not, and made their life the way they want it to be. We can all do this, but it won't happen unless we make it happen.
Being envious of other people's achievements in life is not healthy. We need to be aware as soon as we slide into this frame of mind and snap ourselves out of it. Instead, be inspired by what others achieve and learn from their success. What can you take from their stories and apply to your life?