Essential Jealousy

Megan - Ambler, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 27, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

It has been engrained in every child’s mind since a young age, whether because it is one of the Catholic Church’s seven deadly sins, or because their parents constantly reminded them to beware the green-eyed monster. It is widely thought that jealousy and envy are traits to be avoided, but I think differently. I believe that jealousy is a driving force behind everything. I feel that if it were not for jealousy, very little in this world would get done. Jealousy creates motivation. When a person wants something, they will work as hard as possible to get it. In most cases, people want things for the sole reason that someone has it, and they do not.

For me, a great source of jealousy is gymnastics. I’ve devoted about ten years of my life to the sport. I love doing it, but its pure jealousy that makes me go through the 15 hours of practice a week. At competitions, I would see other girls winning first place, and I would want that too. I would see them successfully perform a new skill, and I would decide that I would one-up them at the next meet. So I would put in the extra hours, do those extra push-ups and sit-ups so I could get my lay-out, then my lay-out half, and my full. I would go running to keep up my endurance so I could perform my floor routine without getting winded. I spent the few spare minutes in front of the tv working on splits and toe point to gain a few extra tenths here and there.

It permeates through more than just sports as well. Why do most students strive for that A, take that one extra AP class? To get into a good college, to get a good job, they might say. But to question them further, most would admit that they wanted the success others have. They might want to be rich, to be powerful, to be famous; maybe they want all three. Almost no one sets out in life to be a nobody, to just make due with what they have. Ambition is simply envy reincarnated as something productive. And yet its bad reputation endures.

I will continue to channel my jealousy into useful tasks: I want to be successful lawyer, so making the grade at college and law school is obviously a requisite. However, on the gymnastics front, a more immediate goal has presented itself. After recently placing third at States, I am seeking a first place finish at nationals. I saw the big first place all-around trophy, and could not help but regard its new owner with supreme envy. So as for me, I guess I better head back into the gym, if I want to be successful.