At school, my friend (let's call him Ivan) is quite intelligent. He's in enrichment classes, gets A to A+ grades and is very conscientious.
At the risk of sounding narcissistic, I am objectively one of the best performing students at my school/country (through national test results, etc.) and as a result often find my day-school subjects easy, but monotonous. Before I continue, it might be important that my classes are held on a periodic basis. With a number of periods in a day, each period of my timetable refers to a specific class in a specific classroom. However, some of the classes (usually due to teachers, not content) are overwhelmingly viewed as wastes of time. I won't name these but as an example, such a class might consist of us discussing unrelated topics and not covering content up to an appropriate curriculum standard.
As a result, I often haphazardly approach schoolwork and classroom behavior. When I feel that a certain class is wasting my time (e.g. other students refuse to listen to the teacher -> stern talks, we have an incompetent substitute teacher) I usually dedicate that time to other things. As of recently, I've been dedicating that time to olympiad mathematics, and studying things like inequalities and functional equations seems more relevant to my overall learning then spending 50 minutes in a class not learning anything.
I'm certain that the class is a waste of time / counterproductive. I'm not sure whether dedicating time to 'being efficient' / actually learning useful information is the right course of action, but that's another question.
In one particular class I'm in with Ivan (literature), I find the coursework and discussion relatively shallow. However, I enjoy the class, but because I find it so easy I usually do not put as much effort into, say, essay-writing and note-taking as someone like Ivan. Despite this, I always get better grades than him. Again, please understand that this isn't me trying to show-off - I just want to adequately contextualize the problem.
Ivan's noticed this and recently confronted (no negative connotation) me about this. He told me that it often annoyed him that he would put so much effort into rewriting and perfecting his literary analyses/etc. yet it seems like I write them half-heartedly and still manage to write excellent essays regardless. I fully sympathize with him - since there are still people above me and I once felt the same way about a particular person. But in my case, this just pushed me to try harder - and while I never reached the level I desired, it satisfied me that I had turned some sort of jealousy into a productive mindset. However, I'm not sure how to react to Ivan's confession. We share other classes as well, such as mathematics.
One thing I could do is to artifically degrade the quality of my work. This doesn't seem reasonable.
Another thing I could do is to encourage Ivan to act the same way I did - to manifest his jealously for my standards as a motivation for him. But to me, this comes across as pretentious - and given Ivan's already trying extremely hard, I'm not sure how well received this could be.
The third option is to stop being so easy-going about the course. I find the course easy (but enjoyable), but I wouldn't want to (superficially?) work harder than I need to. While I could write even better essays and be more proud of my work, I choose to dedicate that time to studying Olympiad mathematics instead, which I believe is more satisfying for me.
The fourth option (and the final one I can think of) is to ignore the situation - I shouldn't care what he thinks of my performance, right? The problem is, I'm relatively good friends with him and I want to, at the very least, maintain that friendship.
So my question is: what is a feasible solution that addresses Ivan's confession without compromising our friendship?