In terms of firsthand experience with the 7 Deadly Sins, I am both a generalist and a deep expert. A polymath! If I had to pick one where I have the most expertise, it would be Envy.
I'm too often jealous of others' businesses and insufficiently grateful for my own.
Sometimes I can imagine walking backwards from jealousy to a more helpful place, where I started out feeling jealousy and ended up feeling inspired and motivated in a specific and helpful way. So maybe the occasional fit of jealousy does me good?
In any case, unrestrained jealousy ain't helpful. Here's a checklist I made for myself. If I get satisfactory answers to these questions, I'm allowed to feel jealous of someone else's business. I've annotated each question a bit:
Are they renting or building their own visibility infrastructure?
- Renting: they have an advantage I may or may not share with them. They also have future risk as a result of renting rather than building.
- Building: I am allowed to admire the work and risk-taking they've put in, but not be jealous of their results.
Is their topic popular or niche?
- Popular topics are a farm in the Mississippi floodplain; niche topics are the Panama Canal.
How long since their last pivot vs. mine?
- Maybe they've been on the tractor longer than I have?
How do I know they're doing well? Am I 100% sure? Is their financial health sustainable?
- 99.9% of the time, the answers are going to be "you don't", "you can't be", and "maybe? but who knows! time will tell!".
How much luck have they received? How do I know for sure?
- 99% of the time the answer is going to be, "If they have a business you're jealous of, the answer is a lot of luck."
Does their revenue model involve work I would enjoy?
- "You get used to anything; sooner or later it just becomes your life" - "Straight Time", Bruce Springsteen
- "Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." - Steve Jobs
Have they traded happiness in a way I would be willing to?
- Their newsletter or social media profile is inadmissible as evidence. :)
The trick I'm playing on myself here is pretty obvious. Exhaust or frustrate all my internal storytelling attempts with a recognition of the reality that I can't really know what someone else's life or business is like.
That said, I hope yours is healthy and ever-improving.