When Martina Navratilova Makes You Mad

I was recommending Martina Navratilova's exceptional fitness and health book Shape Your Self to an acquaintance recently, and I received one of the most unusual excuses I've heard in a long time:

"Nahhh. I don't want to read her book. She's in such great shape. It'll just make me mad."

Look, agreed that Martina is an absolute physical specimen. She's won tennis titles over an astonishing four decades, and she won her last major pro tennis title at age 49. She's faced down breast cancer, for goodness' sake.

Heck, as an 18 year old, she defected from her home country, Czechoslovakia, which was under the control of the Soviet Union in those days. In other words, not only is she a physical specimen, she's really brave too.

And it's true, she looks as fit now--at age 55!--as ever.

So I can understand being jealous of somebody like Martina. But why get mad? What is there in a book where she gives away all of her secrets that could possibly make a person mad?

Readers, help me out here. Do you ever catch yourself getting angry or jealous when someone talks about the methods behind their successes? How do you avoid this, and more importantly, how do you help others avoid it too? Please share your thoughts!

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Anonymous said...

Whenever someone talks about personal finances, I get jealous when I know that they had a heads up - aka their families wealth. (AKA When they do not have student loans, car notes, mortgages, etc.)

How the heck can I not be jealous as I pay off the above over time... (While eating rice & beans - knowing that they are dining in $100 a plate restaurants.)

I can also admit jealousy over physical specimins as well - it is apparently easier to stay fit than to get fit...

Daniel said...

Do any other readers see the hole in Anonymous' logic above? Are the feelings of jealousy that Anon experiences productive or useful? This is what I'm getting at with today's post.


Stuart Carter said...

I can understand anonymous' frustration. So many times people brag on (subject) like it was something they did all by themselves, but actually they had (advantage) which completely changes your impression of what they just said.

On the other hand, following advice from people like Dave Ramsay and yourself allows one to cut debt, actively save money, and eat more healthily than most people. Life is what you make of it - everyone has *some* advantage they can leverage if they are willing to change.

chacha1 said...

I don't get angry or jealous at other peoples' successes. I know that success is not a zero-sum game.

I am generally happy for people who have done well, but this may be because I am a generally happy person.

I know a lot of people who are generally in love with being miserable complaining whiners, and they are never happy for anyone else's success. They are also never responsible for their own failures. Funny how that works.

chacha1 said...

And to answer your question, feelings of jealousy are NEVER productive or useful.

Envy can be a motivator ... envy to me equates to covetousness, which means you want what someone else has. Some people conflate this with greed and entitlement, and try to take away Thing from Other Person; but a lot of people just try to get a Thing for themselves and don't mind if Other Person has it too.

But jealousy ... that is more "I want Thing and I don't want Person to have it." Usually followed by "it's not fair" and "they don't deserve it" and the mindset is invariably "it's all about meeeee." Jealousy is a primary characteristic of people with a solipsistic worldview.

Anonymous said...

As a counter to the original anon, the Mr and I were both very lucky in that our parents paid for our college educations. For me, looking back, I understand now why money was so tight when I was a kid due to my parent's savings for our futures. It was also very socially awkward for me when the rest of my grad school classmates when to sign their loan checks, and I didn't have to. So when I graduated, I made up fictitious school loans to fit in when everyone was talking interest rates. Which I was able to pay off quickly, as I lived well below my means.

Emmy said...

Mad? No. But envious and frustrated? Absolutely.

Would I avoid her book? Probably. If the hundreds of others hadn't helped by now, she's not likely to have some magic pearl in hers.

And I'm comfortable in my imperfect human nature. Just like the person who (honestly) told you their feelings.

And feelings are never wrong, right?