If you want to achieve anything, you are going to make some enemies along the way. Don’t be afraid of making enemies. It’s a given, it’s certain, it’s going to happen. You can choose any undertaking you want, even the ones that are the least combative ones possible, if you want to make an impact on it, you are going to end up pissing off some people, offending others and making some your enemies.
You also need to realize that the bigger your goal, the more foes you are going to make. If your goal impacts a small amount of people, you are going to have smaller opposition. But if you want to do something to change the world, you are going to make a lot of ENEMIES! The only people in the world who have no enemies are those choose to live and die doing absolutely nothing. Heck even someone as peaceful as The Buddha had many critics and enemies. How can you imagine doing anything worthwhile without having someone who tries to come in your way?
If you don’t lose weight, they will call you fat. If you lose weight, they will say you should be happy the way you are. If you don’t do charity, they will say you are selfish. If you do charity, they will say you are doing it to for attention. The reality is that no matter what you do some people will always have a problem with you. If you try and make those people happy, you are going to make another set of people angry. Some people will always stand in your way, no matter what you do. The goal is not to remove opposition, but to march forward despite the opposition.
Now criticism is not always bad and sometimes it is very helpful. Read the article Why Criticism is Important And Will Help You Succeed for when criticism can be helpful. But for the most part, enemies, criticism and opposition play a much more destructive role than a constructive one.
Now I won’t encourage people to go out and actively make enemies out of everyone, as that is just stupid. Obviously it is helpful when you have to deal with the least amount of opposition along the way. My point is that while you should not actively seek out enemies, you SHOULDN’T BE AFRAID of making them, especially when your goal is something really important to you.
Having Enemies can actually increase your potential for success.
Aren’t enemies supposed to come in your way? Then how do they actually increase your chances of success? Well they do, especially if you have the right ingredients in you to begin with. The reason is that when the enemy taunts you or tries to come in your way, or ridicules you it actually gives you much more motivation to prove them wrong and show them the stuff you are made of.
Secondly, enemies are often competitors and competition is a really power thing, it forces you to push against your limits. Read the incredible story of mankind’s progress in space during the Space Race between USA and the Soviets. When they were both trying to prove their supremacy, man ended up visiting the space, walking in space and even managed something that was dreamed of for thousands of years, visiting the moon. Most of us would have dreamed of having permanent moon bases by now or even bases on Mars and yet none of that happened when the cold war ended. When the two countries became space “allies”, ironically both lost the motivation to keep pushing the bar and became happy in their comfort zone, leading to almost no progress.
When having enemies actually increases your chances of success and the lack of them leads to you becoming stale and losing motivation, isn’t it much better to have them around?
Some things are more important than what people’s opinions
One of the main reasons some people are able to achieve the success they have is because they understand that while people’s feelings and opinions have their place, some things are far more important than people’s opinions about it. Since childhood all of us have taught to be polite, to avoid confrontation, to avoid making enemies, which generally is pretty good advice if the argument is about petty matters. For example if someone makes a small dent in your car by accident, getting into a road rage over it is silly. If they don’t make a dent in your car, someone else will or maybe you will yourself one day. That’s just how it is. It is unavoidable and inevitable so sort things out peacefully and move on.
But when it comes to the important things in life that really mean something important to you, letting the other person have their way can totally crush you in the process. In those things, it is ok if you do end up making some enemies, as long as you are not violent about it!
What sets apart the truly great and revolutionary people of the world was that they were not afraid of offending people if their mission was more important that people’s opinions. Leadership is about taking decisions and not all decisions will be popular, they are going to be offensive to some. But it’s ok. If you live life on your your terms, you will die loved by some and hated by some but ignored by none.
Selfishness is a virtue sometimes
Success requires a certain amount of ruthlessness. It doesn’t matter even if you are focusing on the most peaceful of pursuits, you still need a certain ruthlessness, a killer instinct, a will to win in order to trump your competitors. And when you do that, some of them will become your foes.
It’s ok to be selfish when it really matters. In fact all of us are selfish no matter what we think. A man who makes sacrifices for his girlfriend is still selfish because seeing her happy makes him happy. A mother who makes sacrifices for her child is also selfish in a way because she derives happiness from the child. A truly unselfish act would be one where you derive absolutely no happiness from willingly giving up what you want. In that sense very few of us are truly unselfish.
So when we are raised with this idea of being unselfish, it is only healthy to the extent that your sacrifice makes you happy directly or indirectly. If your sacrifice makes you miserable then that means you are slowly killing yourself from the inside.
Almost all successful people will tell you that you need to put your dreams and goals first. After all if you are not happy yourself, how are you going to make others happy? A miserable person rarely ever becomes a great philanthropist or good Samaritan. When it comes to your dreams, you need to be selfish. Being selfish to the extent that your happiness comes first is OKAY and even desirable. You don’t have to crush others with a malicious intent to make your dreams come true but you need to make sure nobody crushes you either. And if in the process you make enemies, so be it. That’s an inevitable to price to pay for what you want. Better to have a lot of enemies and lead a happy life, than to have no enemy but end up being miserable.