What Happens When You Improve?

Whether you become more successful in your career, get in fantastic physical shape, or improve your mind– you will encounter people who will ridicule you. Why?

First, people get used to those they know being in certain molds. For example, if one goes from being overweight to physically fit, you may find friends of that person cracking jokes or ridiculing or using sarcasm to denigrate the progress of that person. It is not uncommon. If one goes from being ignorant to full of book knowledge, you may find people putting that person down. The important question is, of course, why do people do that?

First, they were at ease with their quirky and “fat” friend. All of a sudden, he or she is in shape and more confident. Many people are uncomfortable with change. Americans moan and complain about our corrupt Congress and then vote the same people back into office, time and time again. Hardly anybody likes Congress (so say the polls), but people like “their” congressman. It’s likely that your congressman (or woman) is just as bad as everyone else on Capitol Hill, and together they make up the problem. Anyway, people don’t like change, and they get used to others being a certain way– in a mold.

Second, any great improvement one makes through hard work highlights the laziness and mediocrity of others. People can respond through appreciation or resentment. Individuals respond with resentment because success or improvement through hard work shines a bright light back on them, revealing their lack of drive, dedication, discipline, or whatever qualities are needed to make a substantial improvement in certain areas. So these people find a need to belittle the achievements of the person to make themselves feel less mediocre or average; they insult people out of insecurity and defensiveness. Your progress or work ethic feels threatening to them. But that’s not your problem.

There are people who will be genuinely happy if you improve or succeed in some way. And then there are those that will be resentful. That is a guarantee in life. This happens within families, which can often be the worst. Always try to understand that it’s not about you, it’s about how those people feel about themselves, which explains their behavior. Most of our behavior is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. It’s best to be kind anyway, and maybe once they get over the resentment, you can serve as an inspiration to help them improve or succeed as well.

La vie est belle, profitez de chaque moment

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