Question from a reader --
"Quick question (maybe not quick answer)
Some people that are very successful attract respect and devotion. Other people that are very successful attract jealousy. What's is the difference in the behaviour of the successful individual?
If I want to succeed in the long run, I prefer the former.
My guess. Maybe humility and value sharing play a part... or is this something not to be concerned about?
Actually, the answer is pretty quick -- it's about how you make others feel.
A few days I posted a quote from Thoreau:
> “Maturity is when all of your mirrors turn into windows.” -- Thoreau
The fact is, it's not your behavior or what you do or who you are that makes a person respect you, or be jealous of you, or love you, or hate you, or anything -- it's not your behavior at all, except indirectly. Rather, it's how they perceive you, and then how they feel about you, that marks how other people react to you.
To that end, it's worth noting that depending on what you're doing, it might not actually be possible to not provoke jealousy. If you're playing professional sports, you're almost certain to be envied or hated by the rival team. A very few people can transcend this, but it's typically not possible unless you've got a naturally incredibly intense work ethic and incredible charisma.
Take the New York Yankees. Red Sox hate pretty much all Yankees, except (maybe) Mariano Rivera, and a few years ago, Hideki Matsui. Both worked very hard, and both were naturally extraordinarily charismatic.
That kind of work ethic and charisma are to some extent inborn... the vast majority of players who play for the Yankees will be disliked by Red Sox fans, regardless of who they are and how they do. In fact, for particularly fiery competitors, a big key to their strength in play will generate the hostility.
Likewise, if you're doing any sort of finance and you out-perform, you'll face jealousy and dislike. Sure, you can do some things to mitigate it. And perhaps a few financial investing approaches won't attract jealousy -- like Buffet's of buy-good-things-with-good-management-and-hold-a-long-time. But if you're doing anything that remotely looks like efficiency-building or arbitrage, you're guaranteed to be hated by the people you're running into.
So, the answer on the surface is simple -- if you don't want to be envied, don't make people feel envious. In practice, that might not be the top goal you'd want to pursue... some arenas (most?) nearly guarantee envy to people successful in them, at least from some people.
Rather, I think you'd do well to define the people who want to interact with that you respect, and look to be respected by them in turn. The criteria for that tends to be more based in performance and just carrying yourself with decent dignity and care... while Red Sox fans dislike many players on the Yankees, they probably respect a majority of them for their excellent play. People hated in finance are still probably grudgingly respected by their peers in finance, so long as they have a bit of dignity about them.
Respect by people you respect yourself seems much more consistently achievable than respect by everyone, or non-jealousy and non-envy.
He was an American guy, fresh out of university, doing some mix of public relations and something like espionage for the Chinese government in Shanghai. Interesting guy - I'd been shooting pool by myself and he asked if I'd be up for a game. Sure.
So we chatted - he was in Shanghai to go through the Expo and talk to everyone foreign about their experiences. Being a young, white, American guy with a light East Coast accent, he blended in and was basically invisible. He was able to get an impression of what journalists really thought and people at the Expo really thought. He was getting paid decently for this and having a really fun time.
He added that he wasn't just there to make sure the publicity for the Expo was good: When he reported in that a number of people felt that workmanship setting up their display areas was shoddy and the local contractors had cheated them, Shanghai officials reached out to them, made it right, and took the contractors to task.
He seemed like a solid guy, athletic, hard working, smart, well read - kind of guy that's going to do a lot in life. I used to live in Boston, so I asked him if he followed the Red Sox or Celtics.
I still remember his answer. "No, I don't like spectator sports. Playing sports, sure. Spectator sports, no."
The MLB trade deadline has come and gone. Before a semi-disappointing three game set with the Yankees in which the Red Sox took only one contest, the Sox shook up their defending world champion roster. In the week leading up to the deadline, the Red Sox abandoned 4/5 of their pitching rotation, 2013 hero Jonny Gomes as well as their everyday shortstop.
All the departures didn’t come without a solid return however, as the Sox got back two starting outfielders and a good young arm from Oakland and St. Louis respectively.
First and foremost the Red Sox said a (possibly temporary) goodbye to staff ace and 2 time World Series champion Jon Lester. After coming up through the system and overcoming cancer in 2006, Lester became a staple in the Red Sox rotation, amassing 110 career wins and a sparkling 2.11 postseason ERA. He was a key part of the 2013 Red Sox and a leftover from the infamous 2011 disaster. The Red Sox acquired Oakland outfielder and home run hitting all-star Yoenis Cespedes who will be under club control through 2015 while also moving Jonny Gomes in the deal.
The Sox also let go of two key cogs in the 2013 rotation down the stretch in Jake Peavy and John Lackey. Peavy was a deadline addition in 2013 and was a huge clubhouse factor during this season and last. Lackey, signed prior to the 2010 season, seemed like a contractual disaster after two subpar seasons and a lost 2012, but resurged in 2013 and 14. In the Peavy deal the Red Sox acquired a couple prospects from San Francisco and in the Lackey deal the Sox acquired outfielder Allen Craig and fireballer Joe Kelly from St. Louis.