Success is Not a Zero-Sum Game

In a recent episode of the “Possibilities with Monique de Maio” podcast, Monique delved into a topic that resonates deeply in our competitive society: the concept that success is not binary. As Monique reflects on her own experiences with launching a podcast and publishing a book, she brings to light the peculiar reactions of those around us to individual achievements.

Why is it that we often struggle to genuinely rejoice in another’s success? This question led Monique to ponder the uncomfortable feelings that success can provoke in others—jealousy, envy, or perhaps an existential questioning of one’s worth. These emotions, she suggests, are part of a deep-seated human condition that views success as a limited resource, where one person’s gain is another’s loss. But this perspective, she argues, is fundamentally flawed.

Success is not a singular pathway where only one person can triumph while others falter. In a company, for example, the triumph of one department does not necessitate the downfall of another. Similarly, the professional accomplishments of a spouse do not diminish the value of the other partner. Success is multifaceted and abundant, capable of being shared and celebrated across relationships and teams.

The phenomenon Monique observed—corporate infighting, discomfort during meetings, misinterpretation of reactions—is a manifestation of this misguided view of success. It leads to a competitive environment where individuals feel threatened rather than motivated by their peers’ accomplishments. This environment can create unnecessary conflict and hinder collective progress.

Monique’s message is not just about recognizing this issue but also about introspection. She challenges listeners to recall recent instances where they may have been the “sender” or “recipient” of reactions to success. It’s crucial, she stresses, to consider the internal factors that shape our responses—whether positive or negative, supportive or adversarial.

The insight Monique offers is profound yet practical: observe your reactions to success, both your own and that of others. Understand that the face someone makes during your presentation may have nothing to do with your ideas—it could be as trivial as their lunch choice. The key is to not overthink but to be mindful of our narratives and responses.

In conclusion, success is indeed not binary; it does not follow a narrative that someone else’s success spells our failure. As Monique suggests, the next time you encounter success—be it your own or another’s—pause and reflect on your reaction. Are you viewing success through a lens of scarcity, or can you see it as a shared and expansive opportunity? By taking agency over our responses, we can foster a culture of collective achievement and positivity.

So, as you continue with your week, hold onto the notion that success can be as inclusive and multifaceted as we allow it to be. Remember to “consider the possibilities” and, in doing so, cultivate a mindset that celebrates success in all its forms, for everyone.

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“Anything is possible if you have a plan and you have intention.” ~ Monique de Maio.

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