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Futility of Belittling: Building Success through Personal Growth

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By Praveen Chandhok

In the journey of life, success is often marked by one’s relentless efforts and unwavering dedication. However, not everyone shares the same determination or capacity to achieve their goals. Instead of striving to improve themselves, some individuals choose a path of envy and sabotage, aiming to diminish the accomplishments of those they cannot emulate. This phenomenon can be aptly described using the metaphor of lines drawn in the sand.

Imagine a vast expanse of beach where people are free to draw lines in the sand, representing their achievements. Some draw long, straight lines with precision and care, symbolising their hard-earned success. Others, however, may find it difficult to draw lines of equal length and quality due to a lack of skill, effort, or willpower. Instead of working to improve their own drawing, they spend their energy trying to shorten or erase the lines of others.

This metaphor highlights a fundamental truth about human behaviour: those who feel inadequate often resort to undermining others to feel superior. This behaviour is akin to attempting to darken a room by extinguishing another person’s light rather than kindling one’s own flame. It is easier to tear down than to build up, and for some, the easier path becomes the preferred one.

In this context, the act of belittling others’ efforts can be seen as a form of psychological projection. Unable to face their own shortcomings, these individuals project their insecurities onto others, creating a false sense of superiority. This tactic, however, is ultimately self-defeating. Just as erasing another’s line in the sand does not improve one’s own, belittling someone else’s success does not make one’s own failures any less significant.

Consider the analogy of a garden. A diligent gardener invests time and effort into nurturing their plants, resulting in a lush, vibrant garden. Meanwhile, a neighbouring gardener, seeing the success but lacking the same dedication, may feel envious. Instead of improving their own gardening skills, they might attempt to sabotage the thriving garden by pulling out plants or spreading weeds. In doing so, they harm not only the successful garden but also their own potential for growth. The energy spent in negative actions could have been used to cultivate their own garden, fostering their own success.

Furthermore, this behaviour reflects a scarcity mindset, where individuals believe that success is a limited resource. They perceive another’s achievement as a threat to their own, rather than recognising that there is ample room for everyone’s growth and success. In reality, success is not a zero-sum game. The success of one person does not diminish the potential for others to succeed. Embracing an abundance mindset allows individuals to celebrate others’ successes and be inspired to achieve their own.

In conclusion, the act of belittling others to compensate for one’s own inadequacies is both futile and destructive. True success comes from personal growth, hard work, and perseverance. Rather than focusing on diminishing others’ achievements, individuals should strive to draw their own long, straight lines in the sand, cultivating their skills and efforts. By doing so, they not only elevate themselves but also contribute to a culture of mutual respect and inspiration, where everyone’s potential for success is recognised and celebrated.

(Praveen Chandhok is former President -2021-2023, 2015-2017 – SJA Alumni Association, Dehradun.)