There was a time in my life when, without filter or care, I’d say whatever was on my mind. Like anyone else, some of what I said was critical of others and, although I didn’t realize it, sometimes unfair. To say that I made a few enemies in my youth would be an understatement. Heck, that was before I ever got out of high school. But, as we grow into adulthood, we come to realize that those we knew in high school play little to no roll in our lives after we graduate. For me, that habit of speaking my mind stayed with me through the Army and into my career as a police officer. On at least one occasion it earned me an enemy… a hater who, to this day, wishes me ill will and has actively sought to do my career harm. For a long time I returned his hatred and then I came to two realizations: first, hating him didn’t hurt anyone but me, and second, his hatred for me grew as my success did, so, at least to some extent, he didn’t really hate me; he hated my success; something he didn’t share.
Once I realized that his hatred was of my growing success, especially as compared to his lack thereof, I found myself more willing to pity him than to waste energy hating him back. After all, I could invest that energy in my continuing success and the only impact it would have on him would be to increase his hatred of me. To some extent then, I could measure my perceived (by others) success by the level of hatred he displayed. His hatred became not only a motivating factor in my own efforts but a gauge by which I could easily view how much good others thought of me.
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