It’s no secret that so many of us like people to like us. It has a nice affirming glow in our minds that our ideas, personality and approach in life are all – outwardly – successful. We like to be agreed with, it so often makes us feel part of the wider group; we might even receive compliments about how our thinking is so obviously in step with those around us.
But there’s a downside to always seeking to skirt controversy and that is that we are – in reality – so anodyne and inoffensive that we make little impact on others. So what should we be aiming for? That we were liked by everyone? Or the satisfaction of knowing that, at the end of our lives, we left behind something better; something different.
Often, creating something ‘better and different’ means changing the landscape – and a very comfortable landscape at that – for others. Trouble is, they like this landscape; they have got used to even thriving in it. And now you want to come along and wash the canvas clean and paint something else? That’s where the opposition starts. That’s where the naysayers spring up and start blocking your ambition.
Now you find yourself at a moment of truth. Do you persist, because you have a genuine desire to make something better? Or do you back away, conscious that what you achieve will be at the expense of others’ good feelings towards you?
I have always loved Churchill’s take on this: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
I’m one of those people that really doesn’t like making enemies. But I’ve made them. Some temporarily so. Some – I know – are permanent.
It’s not making enemies you should be afraid of in life. It’s whether you make the right enemies.