Have you ever known someone who seemed to take pleasure in the misfortune of others? You know, think of the classic snark crooned by our favorite brooding alternative musician, Morrissey. His song pretty much sums it up, “We hate it when our friends become successful….It should have been me. It could have been me. Everybody says so.” Ah yes, that explains the situation quite accurately. It’s envy.
It is definitely obvious in the world of start-ups, in sports, and the entertainment industry. Even if a team or individual wins, the critics are there to dissect every aspect of the event from promotion to completion. It doesn’t matter if a boxer wins a title bout or a football team clinches a division, if there were empty seats there is fodder for envious pundits. It is the same for someone who sticks their neck out to launch a new business, whether or not it succeeds. Apparently we as a society have become so concentrated on honing-in on the negative that we can’t celebrate a victory.
Perhaps those who criticize the most are the most envious. Several minutes into any one of the celebrity gossip shows there’s usually a big scandal. Yes so-and-so won this award, but did you see what she was wearing? Who cares, catty mean girl! I couldn’t tell you who even a handful of these “celebrity” hosts are, but then I’m sure I’m not their target demographic since I do not watch them. The point is shows like these, ones that air after a big award show especially, are strictly to rip on people. A studio filled with green-eyed monsters no doubt.
Not that everyone needs to hold hands around the board room or red carpet while singing kumbaya, but how about a little respect. These are athletes, entrepreneurs, and performers who have trained and worked and had the guts to get out there and put it all on the line. People who hate it when their acquaintances become successful feel that way because it forces them to reflect on their own inadequacies. They are likely not happy where they’re at in life but it’s easier to criticize than make changes.
As usual, Morrissey hit the nail on the head. Snark on, sir, snark on.
(Previously posted on LinkedIn 7 Nov 2014)