Let's 🚀 talk 🚀 about 🚀 rocket 🚀 mail!
You see, way back in the 1930s, Austrian scientist Friedrich Schmiedl was building rockets. Thankfully, not for any sort of war effort (he in fact, refused to build rockets for any military during WW2), but instead, to deliver mail.
Here's the craziest part: it worked. It worked super well.
An old-timey newspaper clipping talking about Rocket Mail
For years, people in Schmiedl's somewhat remote region of Austria were eager to see rocket mail succeed. Letters were being sent from one town to another (about 4-7 miles away) via rocket with no incidents or failures. There were even special rocket mail postage stamps developed for this delightful delivery method.
But, unfortunately, that's where the success ends. The Austrian government put a ban on being able to own any sort of explosive material, and the Austrian postal service refused to invest in, or try out this rocket mail technology for themselves. Despite how hard he worked, Friedrich Schmiedl had to watch as his service failed, and other slower, decidedly-less-rocket-based solutions succeeded.
And as creatives, we may often be caught in a similar position: We may be working hard, constantly putting in the effort, and even though we may reach some form of success, we'll also see many of our peers go further, go faster, and have a greater impact.
What do we do then? How do we prevent envy from creeping into our days? The trick, as simple as it is, is to cheer others on - especially when we're jealous.
Here's what we're going to be covering today:
Part 1: Envy, jealousy, and their uses
Part 2: How to cheer others on and prevent bitterness
Part 3: Why cheering others on leads to us gaining way more success
We're typically told that jealousy and envy are universally bad traits
But that definitely isn't the case. Yes, sometimes they can get out of control, or be pointed at entirely pointless things, but they can also act as a rudder for our lives and our career.
When we start to feel envious of other people's direction in life, that can actually tell us what sorts of directions we should experiment with in our own lives. If someone around you is getting way more projects/attention/whatever else than you, and it drives you insane, then that jealousy may be telling you that those are things worth pursuing in your life as well.
If nothing else, it may at least be worth learning about what they're doing to get those results, and to see if you'd like to do those things too.
Now, we don't want to let this get out of hand, of course
We can easily just be jealous of someone's results without wanting to put in any of the hard work they did. Maybe we're just jealous of their car, their house, or their comically large Fabergé Egg collection. Those sorts of things aren't worth concerning ourselves about.
Still, even though this envy may point us in a clearer direction, we still want to prevent ourselves from feeling a constant resentment toward others.
And that's why we need to put extra effort into cheering others on
Yes, even if we feel like our stomach is going to crawl up out of our mouth at just the thought of encouraging them.
When I was 17 years old, I met with the legendary guitarist Steve Vai before I went to music school, and I asked him "how do I deal with the jealousy I'm going to feel when I'm surrounded by thousands of people who are better than me?"
His answer was so simple and so perfect: "Just give them genuine compliments. That will melt it away."
And he was right. As tough as it is, as teeth-grittingly terrible as it can feel, simply mustering up the courage to give someone we're jealous of a genuine compliment can completely melt any bitterness away. Odds are you'll actually become friends with them after that. At this point, I've mentored thousands of students from all over the world, and this always works for them when they do it.
And the funny thing is, the benefits of this go far beyond just making someone else feel good.
The more we do this, the more good things come our way
What always shocks people when they try this is the drastic increase in opportunities that come into their lives.
It can be a sudden uptick in projects (sometimes sent our way by the person we complimented), connections, or just a general feeling of well-being that allows us to do our best work without feeling blocked and tense all the time. By getting rid of this bitterness toward someone else, we essentially take our foot off the breaks and let ourselves move forward.
"But Akash, you christmas-tree-sized display of Ferrero Rochers," you ask, "I don't want to feel disingenuous when I'm cheering someone on. What if I HATE them?"
The author Simon Sinek shared a great story about exactly this. As a New York Times bestseller and world-renown speaker, you'd think that there's nothing for Simon to be jealous of, but that's far from the case.
In one of his talks, Simon mentions that he has a rival author who he hated. Every time this rival's books would outsell his own, Simon would get angry. Every time Simon would outsell his rival, he would feel justified and proud.
Then one day, Simon and his rival were speaking at the same event, and were asked to introduce one another on stage in front of thousands of people. Simon went first, and was incredibly honest. He told the audience that this rival makes him incredibly uncomfortable, and that all their success makes him feel bitter.
And his rival's response?
"Funny. I think the same thing about you."
And now, they're best friends.
Just a little bit of genuine vulnerability and compliments can go a long way toward melting that negativity away, even if it feels tough to do.
So let's talk about what we covered here today:
Envy and jealousy can actually be very useful emotions
Putting in the extra effort of cheering others on often gets rid of any bitterness we feel
The more we cheer others on, the more good things come our way
When we admit our envy/desire to be like somebody else, any hatred we feel will often melt away
I will, from now on, only accept mail when it is delivered by rocket
So while maybe our efforts won't be put towards a rocket-powered-mail-service
Our extra effort can and should be put toward helping others and cheering them on. It may seem counterintuitive, but as soon as we put in the extra effort toward others, the more good things happen to us.
And even if we are putting in the extra effort