Confute means to “prove (a person or an assertion) to be wrong.” This action may be the core of what many would refer to as “drive.” Some of the most “successful” people the world has ever known have been driven to success in the effort to confute someone else’s opinion of them. Their desire to prove others wrong is like rocket fuel; it propels  them to greatness. However, there is a serious flaw in the logic.

Think of doping in sports. The purpose of doping is performance enhancement. When people use performance enhancing drugs, they tend to outperform their competition. The problem first and foremost is that it’s cheating. Secondly, it has more negative health consequences over the long-term. There’s potential increased risk for heart attack, stroke, blood clots, higher cholesterol levels, hair loss, acne, an enlarged prostate and/or abnormal liver function.

When people are driven to prove others wrong, anger is the key ingredient to the fuel that’s driving them. It’s synthetic. It’s not a natural or organic process, and therefore the long-term consequences perhaps outweigh the benefits of the so-called success. If someone finds “greatness” but is unable to let go of the anger that got them to their destination, their success is only a perception. Perhaps it comes with fame and fortune, but when so much is determined by how others feel about us, and our desires to be perceived as “better than” or the “best” – is that really a recipe for contentment? No amount of glory is worth the emptiness of a vengeful spirit.

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Aspiring Stoic and Doting Father

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