The Best Enemies are Overt

I find it much easier to overcome obvious and specific opposition.

For example, if someone straight up tells me I can’t do something I become motivated to prove them wrong.

It’s well documented that many super successful people had mediocre childhoods. I don’t want to draw too many conclusions but I’d be surprised if that opposition isn’t a big part of their motivation to succeed.1

These types of enemies are great motivators because they are impossible to avoid.

But what about indirect enemies that aren’t so obvious?

For example, complacency. Or inertia. Laziness.

These things don’t talk to us. They don’t tell us we’re losers. They’re just… there. Almost like a tax or a body part. Always in the background but never in our mind unless we specifically focus our attention on them.

My point is that I believe these attributes can become very motivating enemies if we take the time to remind ourselves of their existence.

Who wants to be lazy or complacent? Put a sticky note on your computer that just says “you’re lazy” and, maybe, you’ll be scared into being a little less of that thing.


  1. Naval Ravikant has a great theory that goes something like “every winner, deep down, is a loser.”