Over the years, I've been the occasional target of the German term "schadenfreude."
According to Wikipedia:
"A New York Times article in 2002 cited a number of scientific studies of schadenfreude, which it defined as "delighting in others' misfortune." Many such studies are based on social comparison theory, the idea that when people around us have bad luck, we look better to ourselves. Other researchers have found that people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel schadenfreude than are people who have high self-esteem.
A 2006 experiment suggests that men, but not women, enjoy seeing bad people suffer. The study was designed to measure empathy, by watching which brain centers are stimulated when subjects inside an fMRI observe someone experiencing physical pain. Researchers expected that the brain's empathy center would show more stimulation when those seen as good got an electric shock than they would if the shock was given to someone the subject had reason to consider bad. This was indeed the case, but for male subjects the brain's pleasure centers also lit up when someone else got a shock that the male thought was well-deserved.
Brain-scanning studies show that schadenfreude is correlated with envy. Strong feelings of envy activated physical pain nodes in the brain's dorsal anterior cingulate cortex; the brain's reward centers, such as the ventral striatum, were activated by news that the people envied had suffered misfortune. The magnitude of the brain's schadenfreude response could even be predicted from the strength of the previous envy response."
When you're an entrepreneur, you're really the "warrior of the business world." There isn't a net to catch you if you plummet from your attempts at self reliance in your own venture. If you try something and you fail, there are those around you that will forever chant "I told you so, I told you so." If you surpass all odds and not only survive but thrive in your venture, there are those envious souls that sit in the dark crevasses just waiting for you to fail at your next juncture.
After three and a half decades of starting and running my own companies, well over a hundred of them, I've definitely soared to great heights as well as crashed and burned. Each event brought out the detractors, the naysayers and the cowards that stay in the shadows with their "Anonymous" comments directed to anyone that will listen.
Well, I say to all those who cast stones, "show yourself and let's see how perfect you are". Where are your trimphs and successes and better yet, what were your failures? The odds are you are pitifully living lives of "quiet desparation," as Henry David Thoreau described. You "Anonymous" detractors, who haven't the stones to identify yourselves when you spit out your vile detractions are cowards who probably never moved from the comfort of your insignificant little 9-5 jobs with your insignificant little lives.
You are the ones to be pitied. I'll continue to take chances and risk failure rather than "play it safe" by living in the darkness of your lame practice of schadenfreude.