It’s taken me some time to realize this, but I need an enemy. Someone that I can direct my energy against, strive to overcome and eventually vanquish. Many times this has helped me succeed. When competing for a deal, negotiating a term sheet, acing an exam, I can turn all of my energy and focus it on winning at the expense of the other person.
Problem is that most of the time there is no obvious adversary. And I need an adversary. I need a nemesis. But when there is none I turn this focus onto friends, co-workers and colleagues. The tiniest thing, an email not returned, a disagreement, and suddenly they are the enemy. I’m talking full on they-are-destroying-my-company anger here.
As I’ve gotten older, I have had to learn to recognized when the focus is justified and when It isn’t. This has forced me to really look at these feelings under a microscope. When I see them being directed towards a co-worker or worse a friend, I just need to remind myself that they aren’t the enemy.