In what could best be described as a moment of rubbernecking, I decided to watch LeBron James’ acceptance speech after receiving the MPV award for the Finals, and then I also watched one of his post-game interviews after the Miami Heat put a finish to the Thunder. I hate to say it (I’m from LeBron’s hometown and still strongly dislike the way he treated Northeast Ohio) but LeBron actually said something pretty profound. When asked what the difference was between last year and this year, he said that last year he had played with hate, with a desire to prove something to everyone. This year he got back to his own game.
I can kind of relate to this. In seventh grade, after taking many years of bullying, I decided that I was going to get straight As for the rest of my academic career, not because I wanted to learn a lot but rather because I wanted to make everyone regret that they had treated such a smart person so poorly. This of course did not work. It was only when I re-found my love of learning did my grades start to go up.
It’s easy to feel like playing with hate can be productive. It can seem like it motivates you. It can make you feel like you have a purpose, right? “I’m gonna show these jerks.”
If someone shoots at your foot, you will jump. If they keep shooting at your foot, you will keep jumping. Is this the best way to start a cardio program? Probably not. With every jump, you are not striving towards anything except getting out of the way of the bullet.
Similarly, playing with hate is not really striving towards anything. Rather, you are letting the pain other people have caused you (whatever that may be) make you jump. You might move up and down and side to side, but one way you will not move is forward. You are letting external powers control you, and here’s the really sad thing – even if you reach your first set of goals, you will not get the fulfillment you are expecting. Why? You are not doing these things for yourself. You are doing these things to try to silence others. And they will not be moved.
Paradoxically, the single best way to “get back” at people is to just stay on your own path. People get frustrated when they find their cruelty or mockery cannot make an impact on you. So long as they have any sort of power over you, even if you feel you’re using it for good, they are winning the war.
Just ask King James. He stopped playing with hate this year and he finally got his ring. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Do you?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lydiashiningbrightly/4418033668/ via Creative Commons