Blog Archive

The Cost of Envy

Photo credit: Source
By Leon Ho
 In our competitive environment today, it’s very easy to become envious of others’ successes. In the startup field, there are always a few phenomenal individuals who bloom quickly in their respective industries. I know of one that produced an app that quickly gained 20 million users, and another that won several outstanding business awards and garnered lots of attention from the media. Another small startup quickly grew to have 200 employees.In our competitive environment today, it’s very easy to become envious of others’ successes. In the startup field, there are always a few phenomenal individuals who bloom quickly in their respective industries. I know of one that produced an app that quickly gained 20 million users, and another that won several outstanding business awards and garnered lots of attention from the media. Another small startup quickly grew to have 200 employees.
When a colleague outperforms you, a friend has a bustling social life, or when someone has a seemingly perfect relationship, it is easy to turn to resentment.1 Most of the time, we don’t admit to these feelings, but the green-eyed monster lurks beneath the surface.
Whether or not we’d like to admit it, we’ve all felt jealous of someone else in the past.
Competitive and jealous feelings are an adaptive strategy. Humans are naturally inclined to compare to others because it was essential to outperform others in order to survive.2
While it seems natural to become envious or resentful of others, the feeling does more harm than good.

Envy Costs Your Entire Mind

Envy interferes with people’s ability to think and act. Instead of working on attaining a high level of success, it focuses a person’s energy on what they lack.3 An envious person is blind to their own progress since their only aim is to have what someone else already has. Without benchmarks for their progress, envious individuals quickly lose their motivation altogether.
Those who worry about the final outcomes that others experience don’t think about the journey that their competitors had to take to reach that level of success.4 Envious people are blind to their own strengths, and they’re unable to see the weaknesses of rivals.
If you spend your whole life envying others because you think they are more efficient, more easily promoted, or better at solving problems, you’ll never become better. A person who wastes time worrying about others’ successes will not be able to see his or her own potential. Even when the envious person succeeds, he or she will likely still be so focused on the other person that there is little cause for celebration. The vicious cycle continues, and the envious individual never feels satisfied.
The reality is that there will always be someone smarter, better, or stronger. Enviousness condemns people to lead lives in which they constantly hope to have more. The green-eyed monster can never be satisfied. Intrinsic motivation for success yields better outcomes than resentment of others’ accomplishments.

Cut the Chord and Stop Depending on Envy

I understand that even the most altruistic and optimistic among us may be tempted to envy others from time to time. When I face envy, I revisit my purpose and desire to succeed. I find motivation through grounding myself in my vision.
When I first started Lifehack, it was a struggle. This was during a time when the web was becoming exponentially popular each day, and lots of new companies were popping up everywhere to fill in the space.  During that time I heard about a startup close by that quickly grew to fill a huge office. Their building had four floors, a fancy layout, a big canteen, and a rec room with a pool and a dartboard. Almost immediately I thought, “Wow! That sounds cool. I wish I could have those things too. It must be nice.” I was impressed, but started to have that uncomfortable feeling comparing myself to this suddenly successful startup.
I could have allowed this feeling to fester, but instead I turned inward to remember what was important to me. I reminded myself that I am most interested in creating an environment that boosts productivity. Anything that doesn’t increase productivity is superfluous, and could actually create distractions.
Then, I thought about the goals of my work. I want to create a product that has a positive influence on others. It doesn’t matter whether my office space seems cool. What is truly important is how the work that we do in these offices can change lives.
My team doesn’t need all those bells and whistles to create a fun work environment. My team members are fun and creative all on their own. If I spent all my time worrying about how big their offices were, I’d be upset with myself for not being able to offer them what that other startup has. I’d be too busy worrying about my feelings of guilt to push my mission forward.

When I focus on my aspirations and work to improve myself, it brings me closer to achieving my mission. Knowing what I really want is the best motivation, and it wards off envy better than vain attempts to have what everyone else has. There’s just no reason for me to envy what others have because those things don’t align with my vision for this company.
Freeing myself from the control of envy has liberated me from unrealistic and counter-productive desires. I can see the progress I’ve made as well as the areas in which I’d like to grow, and I allow my work to stand on its own merit instead of constantly comparing it to the work of others.
Not only is freeing oneself of envy critical for staying focused on what is important, it also makes life much more pleasant. Being able to applaud another person’s success without having a negative reaction has led to more opportunities and partnerships than if that success had created an adversarial relationship.
When you start to covet the success of others, realign yourself with your vision, and recognize that we are all on a journey to become the greatest versions of ourselves.

Story: The Cow with the Owner

The Teacher was walking through the market place with his students. They saw a man dragging a cow by a rope. Teacher told the man to wait and asked his disciples to surround them. "I am going to teach you something" and continued...

"Tell me who is bound to whom? Is the cow bound to this man or the man is bound to the cow?

The students said without hesitation "Of course the cow is bound to the man!. The man is the master. He is holding the rope. The cow has to follow him wherever he goes. The man is the master and the cow is the slave."

"Now watch this", said the teacher and took a pair of scissors from his bag and cut the rope. The cow ran away from the master and the man ran after his cow. "Look, what is happening", said the Teacher .

 "Do you see who the Master is? The cow is not at all interested in this man. The cow in fact, is trying to escape from this man." This is the case with our mind.

Like the cow, all the non-sense that we carry inside is not interested in us. We are interested in it, we are keeping it together somehow or the other. We are going crazy trying to keep it all together under our control.

The moment we lose interest in all the garbage filled in our head, and the moment we understand the futility of it, it will start to disappear. Like the cow, it will escape and disappear." We can allow disappearing of all the unwanted things from our mind and feel relaxed.
Story: The Hotel Consultant from Japan
Story: The Lovely Girl with Two Apples
Story: The Lady and the 4 Turtles
Story: The Shark and the Glass Wall
Story: The Wooden Bowl
Story: Old Parents
Story: The Farmer and Onions
Story: The Ant In The Balcony

27 Prompts for Reflecting Integrity

The word integrity is related to the roots of words like "integrate" and "entire," and its Latin root means "wholeness." Integrity thus implies the state of being complete, undivided, intact, and unbroken. Such a state contrasts with one that is scattered, fragmented, and incomplete.

When you profess to one principle, but act in a way contrary to it; when you say you'll do something, but fail to fulfill that promise; when you disregard a business's or your employer's rules, even though you implicitly agreed to them in using its service and taking your job; when you act one way as an anonymous avatar online, and another in real life — in short, when you treat others in a way you wouldn't want to be treated yourself — you create a rupture, a rift, in your character. You divide one part of yourself from another.
In contrast, when you act in line with your conscience, and follow the golden rule, your life becomes a consistent, unified whole. Integrity is really the bond that holds a man's other virtues together; it is the mark of a man who has successfully integrated all good principles.
In behooves us, then, to regularly check in on how we're living day to day, and with that in mind, we've created 30 questions designed to act as prompts for reflection on your integrity. I originally got this idea from What's Your Emotional Age? — a book published in 1936. I took some of the questions provided in it, updating some with more modern language, and then created more having to do with contemporary ethical quandaries.
Some of the questions may seem to deal with very small, even trivial issues, where the decision one makes doesn't really carry much moral weight. But research has shown that people don't suddenly wake up one day and commit a huge ethical violation; instead, studies have demonstrated that big moral mistakes are invariably preceded by smaller ones. The slide towards ethical ambiguity begins with little, seemingly insignificant choices. Once someone makes such a sidestep, he rationalizes his choice, and his view of what is right and wrong subtly shifts. His ability to commit such acts, and still see himself as a good person, increases. To soothe any cognitive dissonance that remains, he will then act dishonestly again, to further cement and justify his choice. A cycle thus begins that can put a man on a path that takes him further and further from his original principles and intentions.
Thus, in both small choices and big, it pays to be vigilant in assessing whether we're acting with integrity. It requires the acknowledgment that we can be dishonest by way of commission (a direct action) and omission (the failure to do something) alike. And it calls for the kind of frank, unflinching self-awareness born of introspection. Reflecting on the questions below, as well as those you come up with yourself, will be a help in this ongoing, and never-ending, process.
  1. Have you ever borrowed a book or another item from a friend without returning it?
  2. If a cashier hands you more change than you're entitled to, without noticing it, do you accept it?
  3. Have you ever borrowed small sums of money and failed to return them?
  4. Have your ever kept somebody else's newspaper or magazine when it was wrongly delivered to your home?
  5. Have you ever returned goods as damaged or defective when you yourself damaged them?
  6. Have you ever sent a text, had an online interaction, or searched the internet for something you would be ashamed to have your spouse or kids read?
  7. Did you ever keep library books without paying for them?
  8. If you find a wallet or purse with money in it, do you attempt to find the owner or give it to an official, or do you keep it and say nothing?
  9. Did you ever buy something at a store, use it once with entire satisfaction, but then return it and claim it to be unsatisfactory?
  10. If you could obtain a million dollars by some shady trick without much danger of being found out, would you take it?
  11. Did you ever take a towel or other object from a hotel?
  12. In school did you ever cheat at examinations?
  13. Have you ever taken some small thing at a store — when nobody was looking — a piece of candy or fruit or even a small piece of merchandise?
  14. Have you ever tried to get a child's price on a meal or attraction for a child who in fact exceeded the age limit for the discount?
  15. Did you ever push ahead of somebody in line or get ahead of your rightful turn?
  16. Have you ever told someone you would be praying for them, but then failed to say a single prayer on their behalf?
  17. Do you accept a paycheck for 40 hours of work, when you really do significantly fewer and spend a lot of your hours goofing around/surfing the internet?
  18. If you get to the parking lot of a store, and realize there's an item in your shopping cart you didn't pay for, do you go back inside to pay for it or take it home with the rest of your items?
  19. Do you show up for meetings and appointments at the time you agreed to be there?
  20. Do you visit a blog/website (which costs the site's owner money in server costs) while using ad-block, without financially supporting the site in another way?
  21. Have you ever inflated or outright fabricated something on your resume?
  22. Have you ever accepted the credit for an idea or project that was really due someone else?
  23. Have you ever taken home your employer's office supplies for personal use?
  24. Have you ever made an anonymous comment online that you would have been ashamed to have attached to your real name?
  25. Have you ever framed and filtered a picture on Instagram in a way that made the experience depicted seem far more interesting/exciting/exotic than it really was?
  26. Have you ever said you'd go do something and failed to show up?
  27. Have you ever disclosed a piece of information to others that a friend told you in absolute confidence?
source: unknown

Travel Laundry Just Got a lot Easier with Nival

Travel Laundry Just Got a lot Easier with Nival
Posted: 21 Nov 2016 11:59 PM PST
Travel Laundry Just Got a lot Easier with Nival
Travelers know this problem all too well. You have one of two options when traveling for longer than a week. You can either stuff as many outfits as you can into your suitcase, or you succumb to paying for laundry services wherever you're staying. Sometimes, no launderers can be found and you're forced to wear a smelly or stained garment yet again.
[Image courtesy of Nival/IndieGoGo]
The Nival portable washer looks to solve that problem. The palm-sized device can turn any bucket, sink or basket into a washer.
Nival looks like a computer mouse and plugs into a USB port attachment.
Read More at Interesting Engineering

Today's Inspiration: Parle Biscuits

Many of us who encounter children in tattered clothes begging at traffic signals and busy intersections in big cities, often look the other way. We are afraid any money we give may be used by an alcoholic father, or to buy drugs, or simply be taken away by the person who sent them to beg in the first place. And although we would love to buy them a meal, we are often to busy to get down from our cars to do so.

Visha Suchde, who stocks numerous packets of Parle G biscuits in her car to give to impoverished children, tweeted this picture on social media and received an overwhelming response.



Stress Literally Shrinks Your Brain: Five Strategies for Reversing This Effect

We all know that living under stressful conditions has serious emotional, even physical, consequences. So why do we have so much trouble taking action to reduce our stress levels and improve our lives? Researchers at Yale University have the answer. They found that stress actually reduces the volume of grey matter in the areas of the brain associated with self-control.
Sometimes we create our own stress...

The Yale research shows that stress actually makes it more challenging to deal with future stress. But don't be disheartened. It's not impossible to reduce your stress levels; you just need to make it a higher priority if you want to reverse this effect. The sooner you start managing your stress, the easier it will be to keep unexpected stress from causing damage in the future.
The Yale researchers also found that stress affects physiological functions in the brain, contributing to chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. Luckily, the plasticity of the brain allows it to mold and change as you practice new behaviors. So implementing healthy stress-relieving techniques can train your brain to handle stress more effectively and decrease the likelihood of ill effects.
Here are five strategies to help you manage and reduce your stress levels:
1. Take A Mini Break.
For many people, just thinking about adding stress-relieving activities to their schedule stresses them out. If this sounds like you, don't worry. You don't have to make huge additions or changes to your daily schedule to begin reducing your stress levels. Instead, try introducing a few mini stress relievers throughout your day. This can be as simple as letting yourself indulge in a coffee break, taking five minutes to stretch, listening to your favorite, or taking a short walk outside during your lunch hour. Spending even a short time on a relaxing activity will help establish stress relief as part of your routine.
2. Put Things In Perspective
Our worries often come from our own skewed perception of events. So before you spend too much time dwelling on what your boss said during the last staff meeting, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren't sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you are thinking in broad sweeping statements like "Everything is going wrong" or "Nothing will work out" then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just one or two things—not everything. The key to keeping your cool is to remember that your feelings of everything, nothing, or always are rarely accurate, and the scope of the stressor is much more limited than it might appear.
3. Practice Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a simple, research-supported form of meditation that is an effective way to gain control of unruly thoughts and behaviors. People who practice mindfulness regularly are more focused, even when they are not meditating. It is an excellent technique to help reduce stress because it allows you to reduce the feeling of being out of control. Essentially, mindfulness helps you stop jumping from one thought to the next, which keeps you from ruminating on negative thoughts. Overall, it's a great way to make it through your busy day in a calm and productive manner. To learn more about practicing mindfulness, read our article "How to Stay Focused, Calm, and Productive."
4. Use Your Support System.
It's tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insights and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can't because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your anxiety and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.
5. Take A Break From Technology.
Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you will cut the cord and go offline. You'll be amazed by how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you are worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, try first doing it at times you are unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with this, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.
As simple as these strategies may seem, they are difficult to implement when your mind is clouded with stress. Force yourself to attempt them the next time your head is spinning, and you'll reap the benefits that come with disciplined stress management.
Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.
Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart,