The value of envy

On one of the work-related blogs that I sometimes follow there was an interesting discussion thread about envy. Seven deadly sins aside, one commentator mentioned that it can be a useful emotion.

“Envy is a very useful emotion because it points us toward something we want. Someone lost in the mist of time told me to take envy as a very serious indicator of something I can set as a goal. Making the thing ‘something I wish I had’ into ‘something I want to have’ and even better ‘something I am working toward’ turns a passive emotion into something useful.”

It’s an interesting premise as I can immediately think of two people of whom I am deeply envious–of their professional lives at least. And if I could orchestrate my life to be more like theirs I’d definitely give it a try. But you can’t help but freeze in fear at those kinds of changes. My entire career has been carefully crafted and shaped. I am exactly where I wanted to be 20 years ago. This is not an accident and I am not prone to wanton abandon.

So the question is…why I am now envious of others?

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