By Andrea Lynn Cianflone
A close acquaintance came up to me at a restaurant just as I was about to delight in my morning breakfast and spew my most recent philosophical musings on paper. He began to share with me the details of his week, including a great achievement story of his sister who had landed a large contract for her business. In shared excitement, my eyes lit up and I began to move in a “happy dance” synchrony to the restaurant’s background music. He then proceeded to tell me how he had an immediate wave of sadness after speaking with his sister. I could now feel my breakfast getting cold, eggs, toast, bacon, and all. He assured himself, “I am happy for her…” I could hear his mind whisper the trailing unfinished thought with a but. I interrupted him without hesitation, witnessing the serendipitous moment between the theme of the article I was writing and his story’s envious sentiments.
To desire what someone else has…It’s like a rotten egg slowly diffusing its aroma unless someone puts a stop to it by opening the window to fresh air! Could we not observe this when a couple years back the International Gymnastics Federation (IGF) changed rules regarding the Simon Biles signature double-twisting, double somersault dismount, citing increased risks? Aren’t all gymnastics moves risky? Instead of acknowledging the excellence of Ms. Biles, the IGF created new rules to stifle excellence and limit competition. This eggcellence is scrambled across a myriad of applications in our world today! Take for example parent associations awarding all the kids in little league sports with a trophy regardless of effort or achievement so the children won’t feel bad about losing the game. Good preparation for life? Not so much.
How smelly the environment becomes when one observes how the pursuit of eggcellence can outright destroy the trajectory of people’s lives, communities, companies, and even nations. For example, medical companies or journals use unyielding power to silence interventions that could prove to be more effective than their own. Envious people may lie about their own credentials or outright destroy others’ reputations to “get ahead.” Sadly, I am all too familiar with having been impacted both personally and professionally by such behavior and now often look for indicators that could reflect an envious spirit: slumped body language, odd facial micro expressions upon sharing good news with the person, a lack of overall unwillingness to celebrate your achievements, and at worst, betraying you and delighting when you are at your weakest point...otherwise known as bullies! Instead, I look for people in my personal and professional circles who have high expectations for themselves with strong character. Would I really expect a level of respect from someone who doesn’t give it to themselves? I am reflecting on the time I could have easily ended up homeless on the streets of New York City by the hands of two envious business sharks. Good solid people have been put under the bus, lost good reputations, lost their health, lost companies, lost job opportunities and nearly died by the hands of envy. History is painted with stories of envy! One of the first stories was Cain and Abel…and we know how that panned out!
In my career, I learned of a woman, “Jane,” who shared with me a story about a casting director who vocally expressed to Jane the casting director’s refusal to “cast a blonde hair beautiful skinny gal,” (completely dismissing the actress’ skillset for the said role in a stage production) because the casting director had expressed dissatisfaction with her own body image. When I heard this story, I could not help but wonder how many talented people go unnoticed from achieving certain career advancement at the hands of rotten eggs who either lack the ability to assess ‘talent’ or outright refuse to promote the talents of a person. What a fatiguing journey for the person who has achieved a certain level of excellence! Ultimately, advancing mediocrity does nothing for the person who lacks the skill set nor does it bring justice to the person who worked endlessly for the given spot. Furthermore, advancing mediocrity hinders business development and certainly society as a whole! I’m envisioning a satire commercial advertisement illustrating a student on a Friday night eating popcorn by the television for hours juxtaposed against the student sitting in the library with a stack of books. Be careful when choosing your next heart surgeon!
In the area of business, my observation has been one of seeing a slow decline of craftsmanship across diverse areas of products and services. Furniture that falls apart quickly, appliances or equipment that need to be returned after thirty days seem to be the new normal. The list goes on. Giving into eggcellence becomes a liability to everyone! Business acumen has taken a back seat, from unreturned emails and messages in business communications to expecting your client’s to be your secretary (a.k.a. “can you just send me a reminder to do XYZ on Monday?”). Keep your own calendar, I’ve got my own to sort out!
Speaking of sorting out, I was now separating my cold eggs from the warm bacon on my plate. I put my fork down, took a deep breath, and began to give my friend a gentle, motivational push, “What are your talents my friend? Do you trust the gifts you have been given? Focus on what YOU bring into the world instead of focusing on your sister’s material wealth. Get off EnvyBook (my interpretation of the dark side of social media’s influence) and see your own wealth. It may not be financial. It could be emotional or spiritual or something else.” I then proceeded to tell him the story I knew about a person who had considered self-harm but decided against the decision after having one smile exchanged by a stranger. “I see how you smile and impact the lives of people all around you. Do you know the impact your smile has on someone’s life? You could be altering their decision for life or death. See those smiles as major impact. Now go be a good egg!”
Did this content delight you? If so, consider a donation below.