Saturday, February 4, 2012

How To Crush Your Creativity: Envy

When you want to identify a negative emotion that's crushing creativity, it helps to be as specific as possible. That's why envy is on this list.

Envy bridges resentment and anger. Like resentment, it has a strong charge of "it isn't fair." It's more like anger in being active.
Here are some specific differences between envy, anger, and resentment.
If you and another person have both applied for a position in your company, and the other one gets it, you are more likely to be angry. You will tell people that you deserved it. Under very unfortunate circumstances, you may ever tell your boss.
If someone else gets a raise, and you didn't, you are more likely to envy them. You probably don't consider them undeserving of the raise (although sometimes envy can escalate to anger at the person who got what you didn't), but you wish you had gotten one, too. You may wish you were them. You may wish you were anyone but you.

If you think the other person didn't deserve the raise and you did, but you don't want to make a big deal out of it (except to all your friends), and you would never think of complaining about your boss, you will most likely feel resentful.

You don't need to know a person to envy them. Maybe you read about an author who sells several thousand books a month. Why doesn't that happen for you? This can apply to any area of creativity.
The basic error that leads to envy is the belief that there isn't enough to go around, i.e., a belief in scarcity. If someone else gets what you want, you won't.

Believing in scarcity is totally normal. This is probably the predominant belief in the world. That doesn't mean it's correct. If you consider it more deeply, you'll see that this belief tends to keep people at each other's throats.

Do we really know that scarcity is real? There used to be a belief in the publishing world that people would only buy so many books, and that number was dropping steadily. Then the ebook revolution was launched, and everything changed. Senior citizens who had been reading less found that they could increase the type size of their books on an ereading device. Books by independent authors sold at a lower price than traditional books.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." The best way to free oneself of envy is to find a creative way to get your share of resources that are unlimited, once you find a way to attract them to your door.

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