The Bee and Jupiter
I have used Aesop’s Fables before, and here are some lessons from The Bee and Jupiter.
A Queen bee from Hymettus flew up to Olympus with some fresh honey from the hive as a present to Jupiter, who was pleased with the gift that he promised to give her anything she liked to ask for. She said she would be very grateful is he would give stings to the bees, to kill people who robbed them of their honey. Jupiter was greatly displeased with this request, for he loved the mankind: but he had given his word, so he said that stings they should have. The stings he gave them, however, were of such kind that whoever a bee stings a man the stings is left in the wound and the bee dies.
Evil wishes, like fowls, come home to roost.
It is so easy to focus on the downfall of others, wish we had something that could hurt other people, or in more subtle ways just root for other people’s failures. Yes, for every rule, there is an exception. There are people with evil wishes who made out fine. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.
It doesn’t have to be dramatic to adopt this mindset. Imagine you are pulling up to the intersection. The light turns yellow and you’re a couple cars back. There are still 3 cars in front of you when you stop. This is no big deal; just part of being in traffic. But the next time, the person in front of you just gets through and you don’t. How easy is it to lament about their success (at getting through a light) and your failure? You weren’t going to get through anyway, but our focus remains on the other person.
You might not do this exact mental exercise, but it likely shows up in some subtle way. Of course, the problem is that it can be a slippery slope and at some point dominate your thought process.
Don’t wish for things that allow you to stop others success; wish for things that lead to your success.
Don’t focus on others performance; focus on delivering your own.
Don’t focus on why someone else got the promotion; focus on helping them, and helping yourself as well.
Don’t spend time in competitive analysis on why someone else has it easier than you; focus your competitive analysis on what you can learn to get better.
Don’t worry about “keeping up with the Jones”; live your own life.
Don’t be the victim; be the player.