THERE IS THIS SENTENCE.

“To all my enemies, I would like to thank you for not believing in me. I did it without you”.

I cannot count the number of times I have read and heard that sentence. A powerful sentence filled with emotions and purpose. A sentence that makes sense when you have been marginalized, beaten down, ridiculed, ostracized, kept down, discarded. A sentence that is a motivator. A sentence that exhibits a rage that cannot be contained. A sentence that comes from the heart and the gut. A sentence that is drowned in anger and sometimes, hatred.

As you go through life, people will cheer for you and others will hate on you. That is how society and human beings are. We feed off each other. Our social interactions and social dynamic are immensely strange. One day, they are predictable and the next, they are unpredictable. Go figure how it works because there isn’t any mathematical formula that would explain human behavior.  That is why you will encounter people that will give you no break. They will push all your buttons, they will do everything they can to destabilize you and some of them succeed in doing so.

It is almost impossible to let them win and that is why we fight. It is a tedious, tiring, exhausting at times process. There are no time outs, nor is there kindness. When you win against all odds, you utter that sentence triumphantly. You are reminded of what you went through to be successful today. You made it but at what cost? That is why it is sweet as honey to utter that sentence. I remember I used to mutter that sentence under my breath as a teenager and young adult, when youthful exuberance and inexperience were flowing through my veins. At that critical age, we have so much to prove. We want to prove to ourselves and others what we can do, sometimes we even want to show off. Yeah…Revenge is the way that sometimes success is built, not always. Revenge is the blueprint of success. Revenge as fuel to fly as high as one can.

Yet…If you think about it, you should make it because you want to. Proving anything to others doesn’t mean anything. However, in the heat of the moment, meaning, while we are thinking quite strongly about other people’s opinions, we might get lost and do things for the wrong reasons. Imagine your father telling you that you cannot be a lawyer. He berates you and insults you for years that you will never be as good a lawyer as he is. You end up becoming an attorney to prove him wrong and you realize as soon as you get your degree, that law is the last thing you want to practice. Years, energy, money wasted down the drain. I used the lawyer example because of someone I know, so daughters and sons of lawyers, do not take this personally, OK?

That drive to succeed, to become someone worthy can come from many places. Some places can be healthy, some unhealthy. The problem is that you cannot tell which side is the healthy or unhealthy at times. We usually don’t have the time, or we don’t want to take a step back and contemplate why we are doing WHAT we are doing. One could argue “why does it matter? I made it. That is all that counts” and one could be right. The end justifies the means, right? At least according to Machiavelli. Success is success, no matter how it came or where it came from. Perhaps, it doesn’t matter so long as success is there. If one gets out of poverty because they worked hard, does it really matter why they worked hard? Or the only thing that matters is that they are not poor anymore? See what I am getting at? I am sure you are. I do not agree with Machiavelli, just for the record. The way success is obtained matters, just my opinion.

Yet…I believe success or making it, shouldn’t have much to do with external forces. It should come from within. It should be “BY YOU AND FOR YOU”. Your success should be as personal as it gets. The person you must prove something to is YOU. I know it might be selfish and tremendously self-centered, but your success shouldn’t be to please your parents, partner, kids, or anyone else but YOU. I am sure you want to make proud all the people that raised you and love you. I am sure you want your success to touch them as well and that is noble. I am talking about the motivation behind the success. It shouldn’t be fueled by other people’s expectations or hate or dismissive nature or condescending behavior.  That is an unstable source of motivation if you ask me.

Let your enemies do whatever they please. Work on making it because you really and truly want to make it. You do not have to prove anything to them, you just need to prove to the person that looks at you in the mirror. That is the only person that needs your attention. Let the enemies roam around, talk, gesticulate, let them try to get your attention, let them be. You focus on yourself and when you make it, do not even waste your breath on them. Thank those that helped you in a positive way, those that believed in you. The enemies will choke on the fact that now you are successful, when they didn’t expect it. Let them be. Do what you can for your own good and live free off their energy. You don’t need them anyway. But in the end, if you want to give them a shout out, you can. You are free to do whatever you want after all, right?

Just one man’s opinion…

Now, smile, make it without caring about the enemies, and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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