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My neighbor, Jimmy, seems to really enjoy yard work. Actually, I am not sure if he enjoys it or if he enjoys the manicured appearance of his yard, but he continually does whatever it takes to make his yard look great. I have never heard him complain about it. I have never seen him let it slide. He is consistent in his approach to maintaining his yard.
The month of May was simply beautiful. It seemed like it was sunny all of the time. I was enjoying the warm weather. I set my hammock out in the backyard. I began walking in the neighborhood again and I noticed my neighbor, Jimmy, watering his lawn. I looked at my grass. It was just as green as Jimmy’s so I thought that was just Jimmy being Jimmy. It seemed like overkill. I went on my way.

Jimmy’s well-manicured lawn.

But a few weeks later, I walked across my grass and it was oddly crunchy. I looked down and saw brittle, yellow blades of grass. I immediately began watering too.

My sadly neglected lawn.

A well-known proverb states, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” It means that we think that others’ situations are better than our own. Sometimes it means that we only think that their situations are better.
Let’s assume our perceptions are accurate. If we are right—and their situations are better—why are their situations better?
In my case, it was because Jimmy was watering before he had to water. I would imagine that the same holds true for any “grass is greener” scenario:

  • Your colleague you seems to be promoted every time you turn around
  • Your friend who is in incredible shape
  • The salesman who seems to make twice as many sales as everyone else
  • That couple who enjoy a sickeningly sweet relationship

It could just be dumb luck that other people have it better than you, but I would be willing to bet that they are watering their lawns.

  • The promoted colleague spends more time networking with superiors at work[1] and/or consistently over-delivers[2]
  • The friend in great shape goes to the gym regularly while you get extra sleep
  • The salesman makes more calls than you do and has worked hard to improve the sales presentation
  • The couple has prioritized their relationship over lesser things

Life is not fair, but that is probably not what is holding you back. Some people were born with silver spoons and God may have given some people more natural talents than others, but if you do what other successful people have done, you will tend to get similar results.

What About You?

In what area of life do you need to metaphorically water the grass?

References

[1] Burt, R. S., & Ronchi, D. (2007). Teaching executives to see social capital: Results from a field experiment. Social Science Research, 36(3), 1156-1183.
[2] Welch, S. (2019, April 2). Suzy Welch: These are the 2 fastest ways to get promoted. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/01/suzy-welch-these-are-the-2-fastest-ways-to-get-promoted.html