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.
I read "The Samurai Ethic and Modern Japan" by Yukio Mishima recently. Fascinating book - it's an analysis and review of Hagakure, a 17th century book of samurai ethics.
Lots of interesting ideas. Many I disagree with. But none more fascinating than this one - Mishima writes about externally-focused morality.
In Hagakure it says, "A samurai must never seem to flag or lose heart."
This remark suggests that it is a defect to seem to flag, to seem disheartened. The most important thing is that a samurai not manifest externally his disappointment or fatigue.
They're not the same thing, actually, as Wikipedia so kindly educates us. Jealousy and envy are very similar in the respect that they're both feelings of discontent towards something that someone else has - so 'traits, status, abilities, rewards' etc., but envy is also wanting - desiring - to possess that something.
Oh. Well. I plead guilty. Again.