How Much Is Success Envy Costing You?

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / April 28, 2020
social media hearts coming from phone

As a young entrepreneur or CEO, you’re ambitious and driven. In your quest to succeed, you may subconsciously pressure yourself to match your peers’ lifestyles. If you’re not wearing the right clothes, driving the right car, or living in the right neighborhood, discontent can creep in as you envy what others have

Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t just costly; it also robs your peace of mind and can sabotage your reputation. Have you fallen prey to the green-eyed monster? How much is it costing you?

Social Media Pressure 

As you scroll Instagram and see carefully staged photos of your friends’ social lives, carefully toned bodies, and perfectly cooked meals, admit it — you’re a little jealous. Soon, you’re eating at the best restaurants, going on expensive vacations, and taking up extreme sports just so you can splash your “perfect” life all over social media. 

Social media pressure is subtle. While outwardly you may like, heart, or clap at your friends’ social media posts, inside you’re suppressing pangs of jealousy. Before you know it, you’re unconsciously competing with others to see whose social media life appears more successful.

Paying the High Price for Status

The latest electronic gadgets, designer labels, and lavish houses are possessions that signal to others how much money we have. Are brand labels and the latest tech really necessary? Did you buy an Apple Watch simply because your fellow business contacts have one?

Let’s be clear: There’s nothing wrong with nice things, but be honest about your motivation for acquiring them. If you’re racking up debt or living beyond your means just to present an image, is it worth it?

Even pets have become a status symbol. In China, Tibetan Mastiffs dogs are considered the ultimate status symbol. In 2014, a Tibetan Mastiff sold for a mind-boggling $2 million to a wealthy businessman. Dog breeder Li Yongfu told The Telegraph that owning a pure-bred mastiff is better than buying a big house or a Lamborghini: “It’s solid evidence of your wealth, power and taste, and makes a most presentable gift for your clients and partners.”

The Cost of Car Envy

All of us have suffered from new car envy at one point in our lives. Sure, it’s a great feeling to drive off the lot in a brand-new car. As a young CEO, you don’t just want new; you probably desire a luxury car. If another young CEO is driving a Land Rover, you may be embarrassed to pull up in a Toyota Corolla. That indicates an underlying inferiority complex that can spark impulse buys. 

Do you desire a flashy car to boost your image? Is it worth the cost? Remember, a car is simply a means to get from A to B. The more expensive the car, the higher the overall cost in maintenance, repairs, and insurance. If you’re below the age of 30, the average cost of car insurance is around $1,989 per year. A new car with all the bells and whistles will cost more to insure.

Research done in 2016 by Popular Mechanics found that BMW topped the list as the most expensive car to maintain, costing an average of $17,800 over 10 years. Toyota was the least expensive, costing only $5,500 over 10 years. That’s a saving of $12,300 that you can put toward growing your business or personal wealth. 

Being Seen in the Right Circles 

Jim Rohn’s famous quote says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” What this means is that we tend to develop the same mentality and aspirations as those closest to us. This can be both good and bad. 

For some, being seen in the right circles means hanging out with the popular or wealthy crowd. This doesn’t help you grow as a person. In fact, the opposite happens because it’s a shallow attempt to be accepted by the cool crowd. 

Those who are wise approach this concept differently. They seek out successful people who can positively influence their thinking, habits, and decisions. Networking with the right people can open amazing opportunities. Clever entrepreneurs also understand the value of working with mentors. Mentors can greatly influence your personal growth and that of your business.  

False Appearances of Success Can Damage Your Reputation

Envy comes with a monetary cost, but it can also hurt your reputation and credibility. When others spot inauthenticity, their perception of you changes. The price you pay for a damaged reputation is high. As customers and business partners lose trust in you, it can ruin your business. Picking up the pieces and rebuilding your brand is possible, but it will take time. 

Jealousy and envy are negative emotions that will destroy your peace of mind. They’re counterproductive to your personal and professional growth. Keeping up an appearance of success is time-consuming and exhausting. Rather than dwell on what you don’t have yet, focus your time and energy on growing your business and achieving your personal goals. Real success will organically follow.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.