Collection: Guy Spier - #11 'Overcoming Envy'



You mentioned about envy right? Warren Buffett also said that is not greedy but it's envy that will destroy the world right?

Yeah, could you tell me like how can you not envy people? Because, for example, like some of my friends was working in like a – he was working at company which was bought by Facebook so he earned a lot. So obviously – (Laughter) – you know, got envy.

So could you please like yeah – (Laughter)


So you know, I asked Warren Buffett that question. And so I said it to him like this and I wasn't ready to admit to the extent of my envy for certain people. So I say I put it to him like this, and the answer will scare you.

I said, okay so – by this time, he's convinced me to call him Warren, early on I'm saying Mr. Buffett and he's stopping.

So I say, so Warren, I want to put you in these shoes. I'm a manager of yours and I come to you. And I'm a manager of a substantial business of yours and you rely on my performance for the success of Berkshire Hathaway and I come to you with a confession. And I say, I'm deeply envious of a peer in my industry and it's just eating me up. And you know, I know that it's going to force me – get me to make decisions that are not good for the business, but what do I do with this envy?

You know, I'm hoping for pearls of wisdom to fall from heaven and I said, so what would you say to him? He's like, I don't know. (Laughter)

But and I don't know where I got this from. He did talk to us about this inner scorecard idea at the lunch extensively. And just so that you know it, for those of you who don't want to buy the book, which I totally understand, he says – there are many books out there.

He says, would you rather be considered by the world to be the best lover in the world, but between you and your wife to know that you really suck, or would you rather for the world to think that you're pretty bad at being a lover, but for you and your wife to know that you're the very best.

And obviously, that was a distinction that I had not really fully understood and made. And it was really hard for me, because I realized how much of my life I'd lived by an external scorecard and I realized in writing the book how much of the environment that we all operate in is – So, you know, exam results, you know, all sorts of evaluations. Those are all in a certain way, in many cases, external scorecard.

And I was telling Sarab that my children are in a Montessori school right now. I think maybe one of the big things that the Montessori school system does is, it teaches you an inner scorecard, it teaches you to focus on the things that give you true joy.

But I'll tell you what really does deal with envy, and this works, is that – so a really powerful idea, emotions are a call to action.

So anger is an indication that your boundaries have been violated, so you need to protect your boundaries. For example, being sad and being in pain means that you need to seek nurture and security. Envy is a signal – so the misdirection of envy is, you know, I hate that guy I want his life and I don't have it. And so that's envy. And I don't know why it's associated with the color green. The call to action is there's something wrong in my life that I need to change.

And I promise you – example, you know, the morning I woke up next to my wife, totally in love with her, having had an extraordinary night. I was not envious of anyone. My life was really good. The days that I've spent on a windsurfer, yeah, just surfing those waves with a blue sky and strong wind, I was not envious of anyone. You could give me Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Steven Spielberg, you name it. You know, when you're in those moments you're not envious.

So I think that, what I came away from that lunch was, increased recognition of my own envy, and increased recognition of how much my life was on an external scorecard, and the absolute desire to change it. And for me that meant leaving New York. I realized that New York wasn't a healthy place to me.

So I think there is a way to deal with envy. It's fixing what – fixing – ensuring that we go to bed every night happy with what we did during the day. And if we're not doing that, then we need to try really hard to get to a place where we're doing that. And once we're doing that we won't have any envy.

So thank you all for coming. (Applause)



[YAPSS Takeaway]

Every negative emotion is a call to action.