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hate ourselves to success


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!

Unfortunately, this hatred is toxic and it will never lead to happiness. We can’t hate ourselves    and live our lives successfully. 

The sad part is that to hate ourselves to success is temporary and WILL easily turn upon itself and become directed inward. It leaves hate lingering around and doesn’t go anywhere until a new target shows up. It ends up like a torpedo shot from a submarine, which starts looking for any target.

Anger directed inward becomes depression.

The motivation it takes to hate ourselves to success 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 hate ourselves for not being good enough our entire life. It’s all we know!

We are often the hanging judge after mistakes and setbacks would pass sentence, “off with our head.” I mean we would never talk to our loved ones the way we would actually talk to ourselves and that’s because we still hate ourselves. 


The only way to not hate ourselves is to not judge ourselves and know our true identity! 

The solution is the realization that we are good enough, we are sanctified, and we are righteous. Not by anything that we have done, but through the love of God for us and allowing his son to accept all of our shortcomings, past, present, and future.

We can 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?


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 books on Mental Toughness- 

  1. Perfectionist

I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree and moved to Crested Butte, Colorado to be a ski-bum for one season. Well, the employment opportunities were not in high demand, so I was forced to work construction. I sucked at it. I became the laborer of the group, because I could hardly nail two pieces of wood together.

To this day, I “hate” being bad at anything and can’t accept the fact that I am not good at everything.

     2.  All or Nothing thinking:

My mentality: win or lose, make the shot or miss it, do a good job or a poor job. This type of stinking thinking has gotten me into trouble. It means the good times are good, but the bad times are bad, and there are few times of being in the middle.

The problem is that when I think this way; I allow no room for making mistakes or learning the lesson. However, since we all are going to lose more often than we will win, a big part of mental toughness is learning how to deal with loss and failure.

 3.    Negativity:

Coach John Calipari said once that he can bring the intensity to practice 3 out of 5 days, but he needs his players and other coaches to bring the enthusiasm the other days.  I am the same way. One of the things that I teach is the power of attitude and belief, and I still struggle with it. I can sometimes catch myself when driving to negative town, but it is still one place that I hate to go, since it serves little purpose.

4.    Tunnel vision:

Everyone’s greatest strength is also his or her greatest weakness. Mine happens to be my obsession with mental toughness, sport psychology, and improvement.  If I set a particular goal, I will achieve it, period. However, there is a level of selfishness with this pursuit. For example, I’ve written four books on Mental Toughness, ran 2 marathons, and had a hole-in-one.  So, other pursuits in my life have to drop off in order for me to remain steadfast on the people and things that are really important.  Although, the tunnel vision is productive in the short-term, balance is better.

 5.    My unbelief:

There is a verse in the bible, Mark 9:24. It’s the verse I sign all of my books with. It is a man talking to Jesus, who says “lord I believe, help my unbelief.” This sums me up. I believe in my faith and salvation and know that things happen for a reason and that things also work out.

However, when I get stressed or fearful, it means I am not practicing my belief. The most important mental skill is confidence, and faith is all about trust. When I don’t trust it, I don’t believe.

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 Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness