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Written and Narrated by Marie T. Russell

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Whenever you hear that someone else has been successful, rejoice. Always practice rejoicing for others – whether your friend or your enemy. If you cannot practice rejoicing, no matter how long you live, you will not be happy. – Lao Tzu, 6th century BC 

In today's society, it can be challenging to be happy for someone else's success. We live in a culture that promotes competition and comparison, which can lead to feelings of inferiority, jealousy, envy, and resentment. If we are feeling "not good enough" we may project that to others and refuse to see that they are successful in their own right. However, the ancient philosopher Lao Tzu recognized the importance of rejoicing for others, whether they are our friends or our enemies. He believed that if we cannot practice being happy for the success of others, we will never truly be happy ourselves, no matter how long we live.

So, what does it mean to rejoice for others? Rejoicing means to feel genuine happiness and joy for someone else's success, without any negative thoughts or feelings. It means recognizing that their success does not diminish our own. It means we are happy to celebrate their accomplishments as if they were our own.

This concept can be challenging to understand and even more challenging to practice. Our modern world often promotes a scarcity mindset, where there is only so much to go around. This applies to many things such as money, but also applies to success. We are taught to view success as a zero-sum game, where one person's success means another's failure. However, this could not be further from the truth.

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Enough Success To Go Around?

Success is not a limited resource, and there is enough to go around for everyone. The success of others does not detract from our own. Life is not a sport where there is only one individual or team as the winner. If life is a game, then the best outcome is a win-win result.

When we can celebrate the success of others as if it was our own, we do so by recognizing that their success is a reflection of their attitude, hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Their success can show what is possible for us and for others as well. When we recognize that we are all human, we also can come to understand that we all deserve to be happy and successful.

Furthermore, rejoicing for others doesn't only apply to our friends and loved ones. It extends to those who we may not get along with. Oftentimes, we allow our negative feelings towards someone else to prevent us from celebrating their accomplishments. We place ourselves in an "either/or" mindset, where their win diminishes our possibility of winning. And of course that is not true. Those who go before us successfully, help pave the way for our own success. The more success there is around us, the more infectious success becomes and we can "catch the wave" ourselves.

The Success of Others

When we view the success of others as a threat or a reason to feel inferior, this might even stop us from striving for our own success. Other people’s success or failures have nothing to do with our having goals and working towards them. We can instead see the success of others, friends or enemies, as inspiration and motivation to continue working towards our own goals. We can have the attitude that if they can do it, so can I. Rather than a winner-take-all attitude, we can see their success as a motivation for our own journey. 

Rejoicing for others can also have positive effects on our own lives. When we practice being happy for the success of others, we cultivate a positive mindset and outlook on life. We become less focused on our own problems and more focused on the positive aspects of our lives. We become more empathetic and compassionate towards others, which can lead to deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Additionally, when we practice rejoicing for others, we become more grateful for the blessings in our own lives. We begin to recognize the abundance that surrounds us and appreciate the opportunities we have been given. We then can start to see the success of others as a reminder of the good things in life, rather than a source of jealousy or envy.

Greater Happiness and Fulfillment 

The concept of rejoicing for others is a powerful one that can lead to greater happiness and fulfillment in life. When we celebrate the success of others as if it were our own, this allows us to recognize that their success is a reflection of their belief in themselves, positive attitude, dedication to their goal, attention to detail, and perseverance. And consequently that our applying these same principles ourselves, can pave the way for our own success.

We are all human and we all deserve to be happy and successful. By practicing rejoicing, not only for our own successes but also for the successes of others, we cultivate a positive mindset and outlook on life. This in itself will help create happiness and fulfillment in our life which may be the greatest success of all. 

Let us take the words of Lao Tzu to heart and practice rejoicing for others. Let's celebrate their accomplishments as if they were our own and recognize that their success is a reflection of the abundance that surrounds us all.

Recommended Book:

The Gift of Great Chinese Wisdom
by Helen Exley

The Gift of Great Chinese Wisdom by Helen Exley
This book pairs the essence of Chinese philosophy with original watercolors by Angela Kerr. This full-color package is an ideal gift for any occasion, an attractive art object that provides wisdom and inspiration for times when a little spiritual pick-me-up is required.

Included are over 100 felicitous selections from Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu, Li Po, Confucius, and many others.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book 

About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

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