April 20

“How can one best hurt their enemies? By preparing themselves to live the best life they can.” – Epictetus

The best revenge is…. we can fill in any number of answers here but many of them fall into the same category as the proverb above.

The reason so many great thinkers came to similar conclusions about the best type of revenge has a lot to do with the way revenge works in our brains.

Thinking about revenge stimulates the same part of our brain that ks stimulated when we anticipate anything pleasurable, having sex, eating good food, spending time with friends, and so on. But acting out revenge does not stimulate the same places. Because revenge, when acted out is a confrontational action, it is going to stimulate our flight/fight mechanism. There will be stress. Maybe some elation but then the severe let down afterwards. Just like a fight.

Instead, if we focus that energy on actually doing something positive. Rationalizing the offense, trying to get a lesson out of it. Or if we can’t, turning the reason we consider someone an enemy into our motivation to do better, to work harder, to work smarter, to build better relationships in other areas of life. And the list goes on. By using our motivation for revenge to work towards something positive we get to enjoy that anticipatory high while not having to worry about the let down and depression that follows actually acting out our revenge.

We can choose to use the poor actions of our ‘enemies’ to motivate us into making our lives better.

virtus fortis vocat


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