In grade school, there was the bully who brought people down “so he could feel taller” (as the cliche goes).
These people certainly still exist as adults. People who are negative, who discourage your goals for the sake of hiding the fact that their own goals are small or nonexistent.
These are obvious people to avoid if you want to move forward.
But there is a more subtle, potentially even more dangerous person to avoid.
There are a lot of driven, high-achieving people who seem like someone you should hang around. They are pushing themselves and so am I…isn’t that who will push me to grow?
But some of these people operate under a misconception that there is not enough success or achievement to go around. They believe that success is a zero sum game, and if you are succeeding, they must be failing.
These people aren’t always bad people. A lot of the time, this misconception is subconscious and they don’t even realize it is pulling the strings. But once it seems like you’re outpacing their own growth, they can’t help but try and hold you back.
They often participate in schadenfreude – pleasure derived from someone else’s misfortune.
Success is not a zero sum game. It’s best to surround yourself with generous, supportive friends who truly want you to succeed without worry of their own standing.
If they’re keeping score, they are implicitly striving to win.
Why spend your time with someone who wants you to lose?