Friday, March 14, 2008

Betters and Losers

What we know is boring. What I mean is: the grass is always greener on the other side. The whole point of the other side, is that it is where you're not. There's a whole sience about this: You don't miss the cow till the barn's empty, You always want what you can't have.
Meaning: we're all jealous.

We're all home-blind. What do all these dutch people see in Sweden? It's just forest. And what is it with germans and elks? They're big and ugly and get high on our apples (Not the germans, the elks). And yet, to my experience, the strongest jealousy is when we find someone we think are better on a subject we find ourselves good at. For my part, that means thinking someone else has written something that is better than what I can do. And my evil stepsister, my envy incarnate, dances around in my head.

But remember: this is what I tell myself.
1) People may like what you do even if they don't say anything. I do that often, like something but never come around to tell the person in question. Bad me. And it's often hard to explain why or determine what you like. (But don't let that excuse those people who constantly just call everything "good" and "nice".)
2) Jealousy is good. Jealousy fires me up, makes me want to do my best, prove myself. It teaches me things (just recently I stood corrected on the subject of using too many "," It took me a week to come to peace with that the critizism was true, but I came out a better writer).
3) Jealousy is bad. Don't let it conquer you so that you're never ever satisfied. If you're never satisified, you'll never finish, and you'll never get anything done. Find a way to put a limit where something is good, or why not perfect? Overworked works are just as bad as underworked.
4) "Better" is relative. Usually people are good at different things, and that is true even in very small subjects. Maybe I'm a hobby artist while someone else, like Björn, is more serious. Maybe I'm an author while someone else, like Rik, is a better poet. (See what I did there?) You can even take it further; maybe I'm better at writing psychological drama while someone else is better at psychological horror.
5) At the final cut, you shouldn't be the one grading yourself against others. Let others, complete outsiders, do that. And if you still lose, be a good loser. Then at least you're good at something.

Anyone got any better tips? ^_-


Nightflyer said...

Well, I would add that you can always use the energy spent on being jealous or plain mad on improving instead.

(I guess in a way you already said that...)

In any case, I think you are right. You can't be the best at everything and if you aren't on anything just work on it until you are, or let it go.

Riklurt said...

Coming from you, that tiny comment is the best compliment I've received since last time I was fallen in love with. Thank you, even though I think poetry exists on a completely nominal scale - there can't be a "greater than" or "less than" when it comes to measuring what your soul sounds like when it sneezes (which is how poetry, on occasion, feels to me).

Yes, envy can be a fuel. A green radioactive fuel that burns your cell membranes to raisins if you're not careful, but definitely an awesome fuel.

And just as a reminder, in case I haven't said it enough - you are an *awesome* writer. You're one of the few authors I can actually read despite being so far outside the scope of what I normally like. You're an awesome poet as well, actually, but it's understandable. Your soul is full of poetical germs that require you to sneeze once in a while. Otherwise your soul will turn all gooey.

Dude, sorry. I just really liked that analogy.

I hope my ability to make sense isn't entirely loco in this comment.

Eva said...

Well, I think this everything is so easy when you put it like that, that we all should project jealousy on improving, and that there are good things in us all. Though sometimes it can be insanely hard to just put an end of jealousy. I think encouragement is really important. Even if you "know" you're good at something, and people tells you, you get more confident, and are less likely to get jealous.

I dunno what I'm talking about, mostly I'm just running away from my studies. Oh well, over and out.

David said...

That's an interesting linkage, between jealousy and competitiveness. There's no driving force for any person, anywhere, more powerful than the will to win (sorry Altruism, but it's true). Is the thirst for victory any different from the fear of losing? Fundamentally yes; practically, probably not. Maybe this is where Pride and Envy merge in the middle.

It's all for the better though. Fear of defeat isn't half as bad, nor half as common, as fear of competition ;)

Iceye said...

Firstly, Eva, you're right. It may sound easy when you read this, but I fight with my evil stepsister every day. We all want to be appreciated, and I think I'm not very good at telling people I think they're good. This is some kind of awkward, backwards excuse for that, too. Also, friendship is, to me, some kind of knowledge that your friend thinks you're worth being called his friend, which to me is the greatest compliment of all.

Secondly, I dunno if it's necessary to be "best" at anything at all. It depends on personality, I guess, but it feels more important to me to have people love my writings, than to be the best they ever read.

It's interesting about fear of defeat and fear of competition. It's easy to want to be the best, but harder to have to fight for it. I'd love to have one of you intellectuals write a longer post about that. :P