A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rob and Lauren Hudson: Positive messages for America’s youth — focus on achievement not envy

Columns for families based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa

There will always be people in this world who earn more money than us or have things we want. How will we view the people doing better than us? We get to choose 100% what we think about them.

We could choose to be jealous. We could choose to criticize or tear people down. We could say to ourselves and others, “They didn’t really earn their success.” Or we could say, “But look at all the advantages they had. They had it easy.” We could tear down the boss at work. We could tear down the lady who just bought a fancy car. Meanwhile, we could come up with a hundred excuses why they have more of what we want.

We could want to have them punished to “make things even?” Why should they get a head start or have more? Why should they be more successful than us? If we look at life this way, we will find others who share our views. All of us could waste hours talking about how unfair the whole situation has become.

Unfortunately, envy does nothing to help us become exceptional. What have we gained by attacking the successful person? Have we become more successful because of our attack? And what if we succeed in tearing a successful person down? We have gained nothing and helped no one.

On the other hand, what happens if we choose to focus on achievement rather than envy? In some ways, it’s a smarter approach to root for a rich person who will be in a good position to employ us and pay us. As for the envy, we only have so much energy. Instead of wasting it, we could focus some of it on studying how others have succeeded, then following their successful paths.

It’s a free country. Yes, we can adopt whatever approach we want, but the choice we make on this issue will define a part of our identity. In America, our neighbor’s success never means we can’t be successful. In fact, our neighbor’s success proves we can do it.

In America, we’ve never had a limited supply of success because one person’s success can breed more success for many, many people. Consider the impact we can have. If we build a business, we will need an accountant and a lawyer. We just helped them become successful. If we create a product which makes customers’ lives easier, we just helped our customers. If we employ a thousand people, we just helped a thousand families become more successful.

We have a lifetime of decisions ahead. Our approach and our identity will be the lens through which we consider and make our decisions. To help ourselves, our families, and others, we should choose achievement over envy.

Join us next week when we further explore the common ground of overcoming negative outside influences. Frost Brown Todd LLC Member Rob Hudson is a Past Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber and a recipient of its Frontiersman Award. 2018 Independent Author of the Year Lauren Hudson is a Singletary Scholar at the University of Kentucky.

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