Self Improvement

Why is the Grass Is Greener On the Other Side of the Fence?

green grass, better opportunities, other options


The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

It’s a phrase that you may have heard before or even used. The general connotation is that from where you are standing in life, what someone else has looks better. I always picture standing in my yard and surveying my half weeded property, then looking over my neighbor’s white picket fence and seeing a lush, golf course like lawn. His looks much better, and I think of what I wouldn’t give to just trade places with him.

Countless areas of life could fit this scenario, but here are some of the biggies that I have experienced recently:

Finances: We have some friends that made the comment that they will have their house paid for by the time their twin daughters head off to college in 6 years. My wife and I have decades left on our mortgage.

Career: I recently found out that two of my team mates, who have almost identical responsibilities to me have a higher job rank than I. I have been working very hard for years to be promoted to the next level, and it hasn’t happened.

Personal Life: OK, so my marriage and family life are fantastic and I wouldn’t change them for anything. I included them here for the opposite reason. I commonly hear people commenting on how they wish they were as happy in their marriage as my wife and I are in ours.

We’ve all had these moments of personal envy, where we wish we could be as successful in some area of life as someone else. I heard a phrase recently that is a gentle reminder that our neighbor’s “lawn” looks the way that it does for a reason:

The grass is always greener where you water it.

The implication is that when you put effort into something, they flourish. If someone else is flourishing more that you, there may be a good reason for it. I spent a few minutes thinking about his when I heard it, applying it to these three areas of life.

Finances: Our friends chose to refinance their home several years ago, and did so with a 15 year loan. They’ve also made additional payments over the years. We have chosen to stay with the lower payment of a 30 year loan. We haven’t watered our finances in regards to our mortgage as much as our neighbors, thus they are in a much better position.

Career: I started to think about some of the things that my coworkers do from day to day. I was able to identify some things that they do that are over and above what is expected of them that I do not. They have been watering their careers a little more than I, and have been rewarded appropriately. FYI: In the healthcare field there are numerous ways to advance your career. Consider a healthcare administration degree and start climbing the healthcare ladder today.

Personal Life: I put an extraordinary amount of effort into my relationship with my wife and kids. They are my number one priority in life. Everything I do from the time I get up, to the time I go to bed is to ensure my wife is happy, and my kids are on the right path to being successful with their schoolwork, and with personal growth. In return, my kids respect me and my wife returns the show of love and want to make me happy. These things shine through to the people that interact with us. It’s not a mystery why others may envy the relationship we have.

Is there a piece of your life that you would like to improve? Maybe it just needs a little extra water!

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Great point about the need to stop envying what others have and figuratively water your own grass to make it greener. I currently don’t have any needs or wants beyond what I’ve already got, but my wife is still working her way up the managerial ladder. We are both Senior Mechanical Engineers at the same firm. I am very happy doing engineering work with some management. She wants to do less engineering and more management. I hope she’s happy when she gets there.

  • @Tpol – I think people who envy what others have sometimes disregard how much work it may take to achieve the same thing. Green grass takes effort! 🙂 Great to hear from a long time reader, and Happy Holidays to you and yours as well!

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