Stoic Coffee Break
105 - Bring Pain to Your Enemy
April 23, 2018
“Epictetus being asked how a man should give pain to his enemy answered, By preparing himself to live the best life that he can.” — Epictetus

“Epictetus being asked how a man should give pain to his enemy answered, By preparing himself to live the best life that he can.”

— Epictetus

How often have we been upset with someone and wished ill on them? Maybe someone said something unflattering about us, and we pointed out all of their faults to show that they’re worse than us?

What if instead of looking for ways to bring that other person down, we looked for ways to make ourselves a better person?

For example, if someone called you greedy and selfish, wouldn’t the better way to counter their argument be to work harder to be more generous? If they called you arrogant, learning to be humble? If they said you were short tempered, learning to be more patient?

Say for example, you wrote a book and a critic wrote a scathing review. Rather than trashing your critic and defending yourself and trying to find ways to bring them down, wouldn’t the sweeter revenge be to write an even better book? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in your face move?

The thing is, you should always be striving to be a better person anyway, but if using something like disproving the opinion of your enemy gives you the motivation to be a better person, then I say use it. And in working to become a better person, you’ll reach a point where their opinions don’t matter.

What if our political leaders rather than trying to tear down their opponents with angry rhetoric, worked harder at proving them wrong by becoming better people? Can you imagine how much better the world could be? Rather than spending time tearing down those that oppose you, use your energy to improve yourself and you’ll not only become a better person, but prove your enemy wrong at the same time.

And that my friends, is the sweetest revenge.