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Leadership Thought #225 – Enjoy The Success of Others

October 5, 2011

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Be genuinely happy for other people in your life when they do well.  Someone else’s gain is rarely ever your loss.  In fact, positive momentum is infectious.  If a friend or colleague in your social or professional circle has success, then their energy impacts everyone else in that environment.  Have you ever noticed misery loves company?  Well, so do happiness, self-fulfillment, and good fortune.  The people in your life will either lift you up or hold you down.  It is all in how you look at it.

It’s disheartening to see how petty, judgmental, jealous, and critical we can be of other people.  This is especially true when someone does well.  We often jump to quick conclusions and second-guess their motivations or worthiness.  My belief is that we do this more because of how we feel about ourselves than because of anything related to the other person.  In our highly competitive and materialistic society, we are constantly reminded of what we don’t have or where we fall short, and this hits even closer to home when the point of comparison is a peer.  I have been surprised many times by how quickly a positive bit of news about someone else is quickly transformed into a discussion about their faults or the negative tradeoffs they’ve made to get where they are.

As my parents used to constantly remind me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, then say nothing at all.”  I would encourage you to take this a step further and constantly look for the good in other people and point it out to them.  Be the first person to send a congratulatory note or email when something goes well.  Make an effort to literally and figuratively pat people on the back and say, “job well done.”   Be excited for them about their promotion, new car, new house, etc.  Instead of succumbing to negative emotions about your own comparative situation, try to put yourself in their shoes and enjoy the moment.   Success is much better when you feel you can share it with people.