Can We Hate Ourselves to Success?

Yes, It works! And it is powerful! Although I don’t have research to support this notion, HATE is probably the strongest motivator of all… Many successful people were driven and consumed by this over-arching motivation to prove others wrong!

The hatred manifests itself with a belief that “I’m not good enough,” or ”It’s never good enough.” All perfectionists have this mentality. Future Hall of Fame linebacker, Ray Lewis, was driven by bitterness because his father was never around. As a kid, he would do push-ups and sit-ups until he passed out, as a way to deal with the pain.

This mentality of “never being good enough” and hatred is driven by a rage and burning desire to be successful, no matter what. Work Harder! Strive Harder!

It works, but this driver can also easily turn upon itself and become directed inward. It ends up like a torpedo shot from a submarine, which starts looking for any target. Anger directed inward becomes depression.

Unfortunately, this hatred is toxic and it will never lead to happiness. The motivation behind the striving and achieving is skewed. The unquenchable desire for success is that we just don’t like ourselves and we are not good enough. Our belief is that the only way we can become good enough is through our achievement. Life teaches us that we are actually going to lose more than we are ever going to win, and when we win, it’s not for very long.

Even the best athletes at the pinnacle of their success, winning a super bowl, Masters, or US Open can feel lacking…Bernhard Langer after winning the 1985 Masters stated, “I had just won the Masters, I’m driving to Hilton Head with my beautiful young wife, and I felt empty.”

Now, not many will admit that they don’t like themselves. It requires too much rigorous honesty.

The alternative is more difficult and actually requires more work, because we have hated ourselves for not being good enough our entire life. It’s all we know!

The only way to stop hating ourselves is to not judge ourselves. We are often the hanging judge over ourselves and after mistakes and setbacks would pass sentence, “off with our head.” I mean we would never talk to our loved one’s the way we would actually talk to ourselves.

The solution is the realization that we are good enough, we are sanctified, and we are righteous. We then begin to operate from a different set of beliefs. It doesn’t mean the striving ends, but the motivation now stems from a different place and one where we can make a lasting impact and one of significance.

Which mentality are you?

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Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness