Productive jealousy

Jealousy is probably one of the lesser emotions, it is unbecoming and can even turn you green. So all in all it’s best avoided. Unfortunately I can be an extremely jealous person at times. It’s certainly one of my least becoming traits, but at least I admit to it eh?

Today a particular bout of this jealousy attacked me whilst browsing the internet. Here’s a top tip, if you get jealous easily do try to avoid considering in too much detail those who are your natural competition. They will inevitably always be better than you, or at least appear to be so from the quick glance you give their work.

So today I did not take my own advice, I rarely ever do, and I was browsing blogs/company sites etc addressing work similar to my own. People, also, my own age with similar ambitions who appear to be doing better at fulfilling them. Nothing like such viewing to make you a match in green-ness for the Wicked Witch of the West.

However, I have now come to realise that jealousy can actually be of some use to us. Seeing the work of others and wanting to better it or at least match it can only aid one’s own career/determination. This I will call ‘productive jealousy’ to distinguish it from other kinds of jealousy that really are only unattractive and detrimental. This other kind of jealousy is best evidenced in the jealous lover whose jealousy usually has no sensible cause whatsoever, and leads to them becoming less attractive to their partner and thus possibly increasing the chances actual jealousy to be necessary.

No, this is not the kind of jealousy that will help anyone in work or in private. ‘Productive jealousy’ is when you recognise something someone else has that you want, and so it makes you try harder to also get that thing. There is much jealousy flying around between many individuals working in the arts I’m sure…but perhaps here is where we reach the fine line between jealousy and admiration, and maybe it’s this line that is the secret to ‘productive jealousy’.

In any case jealousy in its greener form is – if at all possible – best avoided.

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One response to “Productive jealousy

  1. I find jealousy useful. It’s a fucking gnawing feeling but it makes me want to better the level of whomever it is I’m jealous of. And if I feel like I’ve reached that level, the animosity towards them peters out again. Only a semi-psycho, then…

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