Today, we talk about the dangers and pitfalls of envy. Then, we explore why hard work is the perfect antidote to envy.

Table of Contents

What Is Envy?

envy sadness | woman crying

When we suffer from envy, we reveal our weaknesses.

“To feel envy is human, to savour schadenfreude is devilish.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Envy is “a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.”

We all suffer from jealousy. Whether it be a lover or a shiny, new toy, someone has something that we want. These objects of obsession can be abstract, such as love, or physical, such as a home. However, all that is needed is for someone to have something we desire.

Why Do People Suffer From Envy?

Managing your feelings of envy is difficult. Unless you consciously control it, you are bound to want what others have. Why? Because you are human. No matter how comfortable, accomplished, or happy you are, you will desire more.

Earning companionship and love or mastering virtues requires time, energy, and effort. Yes, some people are blessed with higher intelligence or a stable home life. But being a good person and creating a virtuous environment requires immense effort.

And weak individuals do not like making efforts. This laziness is why people suffer from envy. The socialist does not want to work. Thus, he is envious of the successful businessman. The shrew does not want to compromise. Thus, she is jealous of a stable marriage. The hedonist does not want to discipline his vices. Thus, he is envious of the wealthy, physically fit man. Collectivists and weak individuals of all stripes will not work to make a better life for themselves and others.

Out of this laziness comes envy. We are envious when we desire what we do not have. Instead of working towards accomplishing our own goals, we covet the possessions of our neighbors. However, coveting produces and earns nothing and does not ease the pain we feel. Therefore, envy remains, feeds into itself, and grows into resentment.

The Long-Term Consequences of Envy Are Violence

resentment | man standing at beach

Envy leads to resentment. Weak individuals who are resentful always must justify their hatred and violence towards others.

Weak individuals refuse to work harder for a better life. Thus, a weak individual becomes indignant towards his or her entitlement and laziness. This resentment festers internally and becomes unbearable. Self-hatred can be an intense feeling, and there are only two ways out: self-improvement or external attack.

Weak individuals turn their internal resentment outward and attack the objects of their envy. When we cannot bend reality to our whims, we turn on each other. If we cannot become physically fit, wealthy, and mentally sound, we will destroy everyone who is.

The reasoning is this: if you can remove what you envy, you will not feel envy anymore. For example, a fat man wouldn’t feel out of shape if he didn’t have physically fit individuals to compare himself to. If you can remove or damage what you desire, you can reduce the object’s ability to nurture internal resentment created by your coveting and laziness.

How do you combat envy? Through hard work

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Malachy McCourt

The solution to envy is hard work. Hard work decreases envy within yourself, so you are not a threat or problem to virtuous individuals. Additionally, the harder you work, the less internal resentment you will suffer.

The best way to work hard is to have life goals supported by long-term and short-term goals. Additionally, you need a system, such as a calendar or daily list, to keep track of your efforts.

Hard work combats jealousy by keeping you focused, tired, and busy, increasing your opportunities, and calming your desires.

Hard Work Keeps You Focused, Tired, and Busy

work hard | tracking running

The harder you work, the less time you have to bitch, moan, and covet.

Hard workers don’t have time to look at their neighbor’s possessions. When you are in the grind, you’re not thinking about what others have. You focus on what you want.

Hard work also keeps you tired. The more challenging the work, the less mental and physical energy you can devote to coveting after what others have. You don’t think about people because you have a goal in mind. Decreasing your arbitrary thoughts about others, especially about the things they possess, helps reduce your envy.

Hard Work Increases Your Opportunities

“If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault.” – Orson Scott Card

The harder you work, the more chances open up to you. Weak individuals do not work hard. Therefore, they don’t have the skills to open new doors and meet the needs of others.

The more opportunities you earn, the more money and connections you can make. And what do money and connections get you? The very objects you used to envy.

Hard Work Calms Your Desires

Hard work helps us understand that nothing in life comes easily. Weak individuals are envious because they believe the wealth and success of others don’t require sacrifice and pain. If you work hard, you’ll see differently.

It’s grueling work to get in shape. It’s difficult to maintain a stable, happy marriage. It’s hard to run a successful business. If you work hard at improving your abilities, attitudes, and virtues, you’ll learn this lesson. Additionally, you’ll be less envious and more patient with yourself and your progress.

Leave Envy For The Pathetic

envy mob | crowd

Envious individuals are weak. The ruling classes easily control them.

Envy is a dangerous thing indulged in by the weak. Do not be envious. The more jealousy you allow, the easier it is to become resentful and brutish.

In the meantime, protect yourself from those who would hurt you for what you do have. Hit the gym. Learn some self-defense. Keep a robust savings. Prepare for possible cancellation. The envious never sleep and show no mercy.

Be ready for them.


“Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate.” – William Arthur Ward

  1. When have you experienced envy? What did you do with that feeling? Is it still there?
  2. What has been the object of your envy? A relationship? Fancy cars? A nice house? Do you believe yourself incapable of earning the things you envy?
  3. What is something you have that you think other people envy? Why do you believe they envy it?

Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

*Image credit to Unsplash.