Watching America’s Next Top Model over the last few weeks (my favorite guilty pleasure ), I’ve noticed a sort of behavior I think comes up in all sorts of situations, including writing. Some of the models, when they don’t do well, or don’t do as well as they wanted, start complaining about a model who did do well. Whereas others start talking about what they’re going to work on to do better next time.
You know what? Envy comes up in every area of people’s lives, and it’s totally normal. Show me a writer (or anyone else) who’s never had a twinge when they see someone else achieving something they’d love to have, and I will be checking the back of their head for an android control panel. But the trick is what you do with it.
It’s one thing to see someone else get something you wanted, and think, gee, I wish I had that. It’s even okay to feel that maybe that person didn’t totally deserve it (you don’t know that for sure, because you don’t know everything that went on, but you know what, these are just thoughts) as long as you keep it to yourself. It’s the next step that’s important. Do you keep dwelling on the other person’s success? Or do you ask yourself, if I want to get that, too, what do I need to do? and start working on it?
The people who dwell tend to get bitter, and not to get where they want to go, because they’re focusing on things they can’t control and assigning responsibility for where they are to other people. The people who get to work tend to be the people who succeed. The only person you have any control over is you. You might not get everything you want, but you’re not likely to get anything unless you focus on yourself and how you can strive for those things.
That’s my little advice for the week.