Today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:
Is jealousy purely a negative and potentially destructive emotion, or does jealousy have any value as a motivator to drive people to improve themselves?
Isn’t jealousy negative pretty much by definition? Here’s what the Cambridge English dictionary has to say:
a feeling of unhappiness and anger because someone has something or someone that you want.
Unhappy? Anger? That sounds pretty negative to me.
But I see what the question is saying. I think it is important to compare yourself, because it’s the only way you know you’re getting better. If you’re Mo Farah, it might be important to compare yourself against others, so you can come away with the gold medal, but for most of us, we’re just happy to compare ourselves against ourselves.
When I was cycling, I used to do this. I’d record my time over a course and hey, a year later I found I’d rode it faster. If we’re trying to lose weight, we’ll weigh ourselves from time to time, just to make sure we’re going in the right direction…
Having had the stroke, my walking was slow and I got out of breath quickly. Still do, but I’ve learnede to cope with it better. But one of my favourites was to walk from home to the bus stop – a set “course” (I remember measuring it once but I’m buggered if I can remember what it is – about half a mile, I think). I timed myself on my phone every year or so. Just to see that timegoing down. Exactly what I used to do when I cycled – it’s amazing how much being a cyclist has helped me recover from this. But, how long it would take Mo Farah to cover that distance – who cares?