When you embark upon a career as an actor, others always tout the merits of the right headshots and solid training, and it is true that these things are invaluable. However, a good attitude is just as vital, although perhaps more difficult to attain. A key part of maintaining this positive perspective is learning to keep jealousy at bay.
Jealousy cannot be avoided. There are so many actors vying for so few roles, you will often wonder at the success of others, "Why them and not me?" Such thinking is fruitless, even destructive. There will always be someone more attractive, better trained, or more talented than you. Measuring yourself against others will serve only to defeat you. If you are thinking about the model or MFA student who is reading before you do, you are not thinking about the work. Only by being secure in yourself and your craft can you curb the poisonous effects of envy.
Clearing out people who perpetuate these negative cycles from your life is also helpful. If you have "friends" you feel are always denigrating your experiences or excessively flaunting their own, it will breed that sort of behavior in you and hold you back. Judging others results in self-isolation and forces you to turn that judgment inward with equal harshness. This judgment is detrimental, not only to a craft that demands unfettered expression but also to a happy life.
It will take a conscious effort to stomp out the twinge felt when someone you know who has never taken a class goes and books a national, but until you see that there is a place for everyone, you will never make a place for yourself. Begrudging others their success is a downward spiral, at the bottom of which you'll find yourself alone, not unlike Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. Like so many of us, Willy is desperate to get ahead, but his mendacity and self-righteous delusion cripple him, as they will any actor trying to make it in a field based in emotional honesty.
In your career, and elsewhere, look for the positive in others, and don't scorn but learn from them. Jealousy can easily be turned into admiration, and competition into camaraderie. It will take work, but you will eventually find yourself rooting for your peers, thrilling at their successes and having them do the same for you. It is an elevating experience, personally and professionally. And you know what? It just feels better.
Jaime Andrews is a member of Sacred Fools, an L.A. theatre company full of incredibly talented people, all of whom she is deeply, deeply jealous of.