Despite what many people may think, jealousy and greed are not the same thing. Jealousy essentially means “I want what someone else has.” While this may sound like a bad thing, I think that if you approach it in the right way, it can be a positive force. If you see that someone else is successful, in whatever area, you may be jealous of them because you see it as a situation superior to your own. In many cases it sets a new paradigm, giving you insight into something you may have been previously unaware.
Greed, on the other hand, means, “I want what you have, but since I can’t have it, I don’t want you to have it either.” Obviously this is not a good thing and is displayed in many ways, some more severe than others. One experience that I’ve had with a mild form of greed rearing its head recently has been with people picking on me for my choice to take control of my finances, live on a written budget and get out of debt. At first I wondered why someone would possibly take issue with my attempt to make positive changes in my life, but after hearing the same people mock me for my financial choices complain about how they’re always broke and yet simultaneously bragging about living their life without a financial plan, the only reasonable explanation I could come to was that they couldn’t see a way to improve their own situation, so they didn’t want me to improve mine.
I may be all wet on my assessment of the mockery and its connection to greed, but it’s the best conclusion I could come to. Regardless, seeing something you want, or someone who’s doing better than you doesn’t have to be a bad thing. A great example is physical fitness. Everyone knows someone who is in better physical shape than they are. If we’re staying positive we may ask them how they did it and find a way to try it for ourselves. The negative end would be to hope that some strange set of circumstances would befall them so they become overweight and out of shape.
I say, look at what other people are doing and succeeding and be jealous. Use that bit of jealousy to discover a goal you may not have realized you wanted to achieve before, but then leave it there, as inspiration. Achievement and prosperity aren’t things that come from a fixed pie. In order for one person to win, the other doesn’t have to lose and who knows, in your pursuit of achieving your new goal you may be able to help that other person achieve something positive that you’ve done in your own life and then you’ll both be better off than when you started.