Why People Hate you for Achieving Success

Over the last decades something disturbing has began to happen in America. It started at first with politicians using class warfare to manipulate voters. They speak of things like winning life’s lottery and the top 1% in ways that make it feel that by succeeding they have done something wrong, or at the very least were lucky.

This has spread out through society. More and more the idea of earning a profit has become something that is considered a little dirty. We tell ourselves that no one can achieve success in business without cheating and we complain that athletes are paid too much for playing a game rather than being happy that they have succeeded.

Yet at the same time we all want to reach that level of success. Millions of lottery tickets are sold every day to people who want to win life’s lottery in a more literal sense and even more work hard every day. Yet often these are the same people who attack those who have truly succeeded. So why is this?

Part of the problem is natural assumption that the world is a zero sum gain. This is a feeling that because someone gets more someone else has to get less. That no matter how hard people work there will always be the same amounts of goods and services in the world. When one looks at this more logically it is clearly untrue. Humans add value to the economy with nearly everything they do and someone who adds a great deal of value with little cost deserves to earn money.

The second is that of a general perception of how much other people work. We generally do not see how hard other people work and because of this it is easy to assume that they are an overnight success. This assumption that other people didn’t work hard enough to deserve what they got is one that can most easily be seen in a factory where it is common for every worker on the floor to complain that they are the only one who is really working hard. This inability to see other people’s work leads to a distain for their success.

The final reason is because success can be a constant reminder of failure. This is especially true of someone who is in a similar field to you. Even if there is no direct competition it is often easier to blame someone else for your lack of success than admit to your own weaknesses and mistakes. When combined with the inability to recognize just how hard they worked to reach that position it can lead to true hate.

The effects of this hatred of success can be seen throughout our society. We talk about the rich with distain and get angry when less of their money is taken from the government. We assume that they are evil and discount any good actions as something that is easy for them and then as we begin to achieve success ourselves we begin to ask the question why do others hate me for my success without ever thinking about our reactions to those who were successful before us.