How to STOP being JEALOUS of other athletes

25th January 2024
Read time: 1 mins 50 secs

How do I deal with someone who is doing better than me?

How do I get over the jealousy?

These were questions Ian Wright asked Rory McIlroy on an episode of the Overlap podcast.

Rory’s answer:

I don’t get jealous because I feel like I’m only competing against myself.

And this conversation resonated with me.


Because I’ve felt jealousy in sports. A lot.

My brother and I have competed against each other in sports since we were 5.

Every time, he did well. I would get jealous.

But it also carried into my professional career.

If people I wanted to be better than did well, and I didn’t, bang! Jealousy.

Until I realised that it was holding me back.

It would demotivate me. I would want to sulk and feel sorry for myself.

Yet I realised that all of that wouldn’t get me better.

It wouldn’t give me even a chance to make the improvements I wanted.

So I used it to motivate and inspire me to take action.

It’s based on this realisation: jealousy of others success doesn’t mean you can’t have your own.

And I’m sure you have felt jealousy at some point.

You might feel jealous in moments such as:

  • Others are doing well
  • Lack of attention from coaches
  • You being at a different level to others
  • Receiving negative information from someone else

Jealousy is an emotion.

And jealousy itself is ok; it’s natural, but what you do with it when you feel it is what matters.

Jealousy can rob us of our confidence, making us feel as if we’re inadequate, devalued, and demotivated.

And social media fuels jealousy further.

People posting their highlights fuels FOMO (fear of missing out), inadequacy, comparison to others, and jealousy.

And so I’m going to give you a few ways in which you can stop allowing jealousy to keep you from your own success.

Focus on what you do well

When we see others success or feel jealousy because of what others have, it distracts us from what we are good at.

When you feel a sense of jealousy, remind yourself what your strengths are and what you’re good at.

Just because others have strengths and have success doesn’t mean you can’t use yours.

A great place to start if you don’t know what yours are is the super strengths exercise in the MindStrong Sport Self-Confidence mini-course.

Be inspired by how they do it

If there’s a sense of inadequacy about where you’re at when compared to someone else.

Instead of looking at where they are superior and you are lacking, look at how they do what they do.

What can you learn from it?

What are they doing that you aren’t?

Look for similarities between you and them rather than the differences.

This could guide you towards improving yourself so that you are the one next to have success.

Drive you to work harder

Use someone else’s success to drive you.

If you’re like me and you need a target, use their success to help.

Instead of seeing them as a threat, see them as competition, inspiration, a guide, or maybe even a coach.

Whatever you see them as, let them drive you rather than demotivate you.

I now actively look for people who are doing what I want to do, instead of thinking of them as superior and having thoughts like, “Why should I bother when they’re successful?”. I see it as inspiration and think, “How can I do it my own way?”

Be curious in how to get better

With this new mindset towards jealousy, use it to be curious.

Be curious about all the new skills that you could learn.

The new methods you could adopt could totally change the game for you.

Many top athletes use others in their field to find new ways to get better.

Many teams hide what they do to protect people from learning inside secrets.

Here’s where social media becomes a blessing.

You can use it to find out how the best do what they do.

While others are becoming jealous and disheartened at the content they see, you can use it to study. And HARD!

You get to see how people are doing what they are doing. They are giving you more access than ever.

Don’t squander that.

At the end of it, jealousy (like many emotions) isn’t going anywhere; it’s how to respond to it that matters.

When you next feel that wave of jealousy.

Don’t let it be the thing that stops you from going after your success.

Use it to fuel your journey.

Whenever you're ready, there is a couple of ways I can help you:

MindStrong Sport App – Mental Skills Training for Athletes

Personal Mindset Coaching - Contact for more

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