Growing up and collecting responsibilities I find it very, very easy to envy anyone around me for silly things. Shit, that person has published short stories or even their poetry! That one is a frequent painter. She’s a convinced vegetarian and he rides a REAL motorcycle with a leather costume and everything And she, shit, she’s got really nice cacti. Why can’t I have nice cacti?
Frankly, that’s it. Jealousy and envy are green-eyed monsters, but the core is not that someone else has nice things. No: why can’t I have nice things?
So we’re all keeping up with the Joneses every now and then. Nothing wrong with that. Someone told me it’s actually healthy because it reminds you of your own unfulfilled potential. How? Well, I got a little exercise for you.
An exercise in proactivity
1 Grab a piece of paper
2 Divide it into three columns
3 Write down the names of people you are jealous of in column 1
4 Write down what precisely makes you jealous in column 2
5 Fill column three with what you should do to stop being jealous
What you should do
First of all, the lists are quite private of course. Secondly, it doesn’t really matter whether you scribble down your biggest jealousy-monsters or just the tiny ones. The nagging feeling that something is not quite right can help you. And of course, this blog post is not really about you but about something I’ve learned, so I’m stopping the patronising voice right now.
Because I did the list and found out that I’m just lazy.
What I did
So I listed my best friends and strangers in the columns because I really admire people. The great majority had one thing in common: they have published their work. I sat with my paper and its columns and suddenly it dawned on me. If I want to publish my poetry, my book, my short stories…
I should type them out. First step.
My friends came over after that and we sat down for our creative work. I felt like a cheater, typing out my old poetry while the others did Genuine Creative Work but somehow it was a huge step. When I was finished, I grabbed the first chapters of the book I’ve been working on and typed them out, too.
Somehow, through the power of jealousy and the advice to look it right into the eye, one day was enough. Enough to lay the groundwork and stop mulling over missing out. There is always a next step, wherever you go. But mostly, sitting with my friends for creative work, I understood that the manual work is as important as the dreaming up of plots and lines.
Interested in the power of creative communities? Read here about my encounter with Ben, the author with his amazing crowdfunding project I met in Paris & who became a friend afterwards.2 readers like this