Seeing things from a distance, it can seem like one is missing out on all the fun. This is the psychology often used by marketing and advertising operatives. Nowadays it is at the heart of the practice of using social media platforms such as Instagram. Carefully assembled images give the impression that the desirable life is anywhere apart from where the observer is.

So the observer goes away and dreams of gaining access to the magic kingdom. In some cases he or she goes to great lengths to get the keys or permission to enter, only to find it isn’t as imagined.

In other cases, one reads about the apparently most suitable way to approach doing things. The terminology used to describe such a process could be different to the reader’s choice of descriptive words, so he or she thinks there is something mysterious, elusive or special about the written material. Later on reflection, it dawns on the reader that he or she has done similar or even more impressive things, but hasn’t chosen to write about them.

Reading the comments written in response to online articles or video clips about public figures, it becomes clear that so many of us invest too much time in observing others and coveting what they have, when we could do much more with our own lives if we could focus mainly on our own progress.

Long before the era of social media, there were common sayings such as “the grass is always greener on the other side”. Some notions never change.