Chai Chat: On Stealing Success

Today I’m pondering; can someone ever ‘steal’ your share of success?

A few years ago, a good friend of mine  received an amazing work opportunity, and rather than be happy for her I was filled with a strange resentment like feeling. This experience bothered me to my very core, because I’ve always been a cheerleader for other women. I’ve stood on my soap box for years and exclaimed that women should be there for each other and empower one another, and yet, I couldn’t be truly happy for my friend. The deeper I went with the feeling, the clearer it was that I was jealous of her. Jealousy; an ugly feeling that I try to stay miles away from whenever possible, had come between me and a dear friend.

Around the same time I was reading A New Earth by Eckart Tolle. In the book Tolle explores the ego in great depth, and shares his theories on resentment and jealousy. What really hit me, was a section of the book where he explains that often when someone in our lives achieves something amazing, we feel that a little piece of success is gone from the Universe now, and we’ll never have it for ourselves. It’s as if we believe that person actually snatched that particular piece of success away from us. What a horrible mindset! After all, we all know that there is enough success and opportunity in the world for everyone if we are willing to work for it.

After that aha-moment I’ve never held onto feelings of ‘success jealousy’  again. (I’m not super human, the pangs come now and then, I just don’t let them stick around). Now when I see  a friend, a colleague, or even a competitor achieve something I wish I had, I try to analyse their success pattern and learn from it.

success and likeability

While my experience was freeing for me, it doesn’t stop others from approaching me with the same unjustified resentment that I felt for my friend that time. In fact, the more I grow in my career, the more often it happens that people just don’t like me any more. All of a sudden friends that I love with great depth find me cold and abrasive, or feel as though I’m ‘stealing’ their ideas and success right out from under their noses. While I understand that success and likeability are not positively correlated for women, I can’t help but feel hurt.

If you ever find yourself feeling like someone stole away success that belonged to you, I challenge you to dig deeper and figure out where that feeling is coming from. Are you jealous,  or maybe you’re afraid? Afraid that she is more talented than you’ll ever be, or that she works harder than you ever can? Keep talking it out until you figure out where the feeling is coming from, and then tackle that issue – don’t attack her.

I’m sure that you are a talented, intelligent, hard working woman too, and there is a whole lot of success and opportunity out there in the world with your name on it, go get it. While you are busy festering in your feelings of resentment, another woman is out there hustling and making things happen for herself.

It is my belief that the opportunities we get in our life are linked to our attitude, work ethic, and karma – as long as you keeping those three areas in check, no one can steal your success.

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7 Comments

  1. April 14, 2014 / 11:10 am

    Hi Raj,

    What a better way to describe and analyze “success jealousy.” That also in a few paragraphs.

    After reading this short article I’m really motivated to throw away the jealousy attached with success :)

    Nandita B.

    • April 14, 2014 / 11:40 am

      So glad you enjoyed the post Nandita, thanks for sharing your thoughts! PS: Nandita is one of my favourite names of all time and I always used to pick it when playing make believe as a kid :)

  2. April 15, 2014 / 7:14 am

    Hi,

    Can you pls recommend an online store to buy Eckart Tolle’s “A New Earth.”

    Is this book available in a regular book store (I mean a good bookstore)?

    Thanks in advance :)

  3. wendyweb50
    May 14, 2015 / 8:46 am

    Great post Raj! I can totally relate to both aspects of it. Having felt that “jealousy” and feeling guilty for it, and also having people walk away when I’ve achieved a success. You’ve expressed this balancing act beautifully. I’ll be sharing the post!

    • May 14, 2015 / 5:26 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Wendy – and thank you for sharing!

  4. May 14, 2015 / 6:15 pm

    Loved this, Raj. You deconstruct the dilemma beautifully. Most especially, I love the way the article radiates with self-acceptance and at the same time personal rigour. Hugs!

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