The Subtle Act of Jealousy

Some things in life are only learned through age and experience. Such is the subtle act of jealousy. Subtlety is a key ingredient to success that gives its master a huge competitive advantage in this life thing. However, few people have mastered this key ingredient and that’s something that sets people apart. Enough about being subtle, let’s dive into the subtle acts of jealousy. If you’re wondering what being subtle means, “making use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something.

I believe it’s human nature to be jealous. We all feel the urge to love and be loved back. Similarly, we also experience feeling jealous. In most cases, jealousy is evil or rather something we should dissociate ourselves from. But I always have a different approach, one that my dad shared with me more than a decade ago. Rather than pushing it away, my dad taught me to embrace jealousy but be subtle while doing it. Here’s a short story.

Initially, I wasn’t a very smart pupil in primary school and that never bothered me until my dad sat me down for a father-son tete-a-tete one day after school. “Your grades a bad and you don’t seem to be bothered about it. What do you want to be when you grow up?” he asked. “Aeronautical engineer,” I said staring at my feet in embarrassment. I have a feeling you also had such big dreams. “Do you think that your grades will get you there? I bet not. Which brings me to the next question, why do you have another pupil’s book in your bag pack?” he continued.

My dad frequently checked my assignment/homework but he’d occasionally inspect my bag. “He gave it to me,” I said in a panic. At the back of my mind, I knew that I had stolen the book to copy my classmate’s assignment because he always came top in exams. I’m sure you can relate to the smart pupils who did homework during the free lesson and left the book in their lockers. They carried very few books home, which allowed them to play along the way. And there was me who carried all my books and struggled with my assignment late into the night.

This continued until I realized that I could steal this pupil’s book and copy his assignment. Little did I know that the pupil had reported me to the teacher who had, in turn, called my dad. I continued to lie that I had the pupil’s consent to carry his book home but my dad knew everything. However, he let it go but a close eye on me.

My little brother on the other hand was always very focused on his academic life. He always did his assignment on time and scored very go grades. My parents rewarded both of us but he git all the cool stuff while I got regular stuff. Truth be told I wasn’t very happy with this and there was no way I would let that slide. I resorted to hiding his toys among other types of mischief. He told on me and my dad decided that it was time for another tete-a-tete.

“Why are you always hiding your brother’s toys? You know he’s pretty much achieved them by scoring the best grades in school, right?” my dad began. “I don’t do well at school like my brother but you should treat us equally. I should also get cool toys or nobody is going to enjoy theirs,” I retorted in anger.

“You’re jealous of your brother because he gets good grades and has good toys. It’s okay to be jealous but what you’re doing in retaliation is wrong. Rather than spending so much energy and time hiding his toys, why don’t you focus more on your studies? Every time you don’t feel like studying or doing your homework, just remember that you won’t get cool toys. Jealousy is a good thing but only if you use it as fuel to drive you towards great heights,” he said.

I was thirteen years old and my brother was eight years old at the time. But that changed my perception of the world and jealousy. Rather than shying away from being jealous, I learned how to embrace it and use it as my driving force. I soon learned that jealousy can be a sustainable source of motivation in life. I quit hiding my brother’s toys and focused on getting better grades to earn cool toys. That’s how I turned around my life and learned to use subtlety to approach jealousy.

However, one must be subtle about it because there’s a thin line between being smart and cunning/crafty. Every time a friend makes an enviable move, I’ll be jealous alright. But instead of talking him down or uttering spiteful comments about their comments, I make use of this emotion as motivation to get to their levels.

At times we might be intimidated by what people around us are doing but instead of being spiteful, focus on learning from them and getting to their level. That way you will not only have a blissful life but also escalate from one level to the next.

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