THE BLOG
08/06/2014 05:03 pm ET Updated Oct 06, 2014

Display Equanimity (and Never Lick Anyone's Sandwich) When Others Succeed

I have a twin brother and, as 9-year-old kids, we made a firm agreement: Whoever made it into the den first got to pick which TV shows we watched.

More often than not, we enjoyed a lot of the same programs -- Superman, The Three Stooges and Bugs Bunny cartoons. But there still were times when my getting into the den second meant I was stuck watching Star Trek -- or some tedious game show -- all at my brother's insistence.

One afternoon, my brother had dibs in the room and proceeded to watch one show after another he knew I had absolutely no interest in. I sat stewing knowing he was the one in power -- and quite unlikely to relinquish his control.

But after about an hour of this, my brother suddenly got hungry and announced that he was heading into the kitchen to make a sandwich -- and would return to watch his shows.

I, of course, promptly objected to his plan and gleefully reminded him that the minute he left the room, I'd be changing channels.

In that moment (and perhaps all moments), my brother was much more clever than I was. He went to the doorway and laid himself on the ground. With his toes still touching the carpet in the den, he reached around into the kitchen and grabbed one of the many floor rugs my mother had placed there.

Brilliantly, he used that first rug to overlap the carpet in the den and then proceeded to build a chain of connected rugs allowing him to go fully into the kitchen, make himself a huge sandwich and, technically, remain in the den all at the same time.

In the moment, I saw my brother's genius and knew I'd been beaten.

For the few minutes he was "gone," I cheered myself up a bit by changing the channel and watching something I liked. But upon his triumphant return, he placed his beautifully made bologna sandwich on the table in front of me, and made a beeline to the TV.

My brother and I were generally very competitive with each other, and it killed me to be so outwitted. Perhaps because I hated losing so much, I made an instinctive decision to soften the blow of my searing loss. I licked his sandwich just before he'd made it back to the sofa.

Yes, of course, this maneuver grossed out my brother, and I ended up eating the sandwich. But even as a 9-year-old, I knew what I'd just done was a really jerky reaction to his winning.

I offer this story as a reminder to always take delight in the success of others -- most especially those who work for you -- and to never forget the universe is abundant. There's plenty of success and achievement to go 'round for all of us.

Unlike my childish and pathetic example, demonstrate your equanimity -- even joy -- when others achieve; and resist at all costs the temptation to feel another's win is somehow your loss. Strive instead to act out of a much higher level of consciousness and genuinely honor others when they excel or otherwise find themselves in the spotlight.

Delighting in the achievements of others is characteristic of great leaders -- and great human beings, too.