Success is Always the Best Revenge
How to fight the system by winning on your own
Honestly, when it comes to the idea of personal responsibility in a vacuum, I have a problem with it.
Do you have agency over your life? Yes. But it’s not as if one hundred percent of what’s happened to you in your life is your fault. Nope, sometimes pure chance and circumstance come into the equation — more often then your typical neighborhood guru would like to admit.
I don’t know you. I don’t know exactly what you’ve been through, how hard your life is, or how much of that difficulty through no fault of your own. But I’m almost certain of one thing — the calvary isn’t coming.
See, the so-called calvary is just another one of the circumstances and roadblocks in your life. I hate these people. Politicians, pundits, bad actors on every side of the aisle you can think of who have every incentive to make you feel even more helpless than you already find yourself feeling at times.
Whereas someone like me tries to honor the place you’re coming from, they act like the place you come from is a death sentence. Unless, of course, they come to save you. But they never actually come, do they? They make the same promises, fail to keep them, and shuffle in and out — a musical chairs of promise makers who get nothing done. At the core, they’re all the same.
You know this. I know this. We all — even the ones mired deep in confirmation bias — know this.
So why do we play these games? Why do we look in every direction except for the only one that leads to what we want? Because it’s hard.
Understanding the you might have to bluff your way through the table with a ‘seven duece’ and look all your “low odds” of success in the eye unphased and willing to play the hand until the end can be a tough pill to swallow.
Understanding that life — in some ways — may be rigged against you and that your only choice is to try and succeed anyway is … a lot to deal with. But it’s the only way.
We’re all part of a system that’s unfair to us in one way or another, but the best way to fight back against the system? Succeed. Live freely in a society designed to keep you mentally enslaved. Reach all your goals and dreams despite what you’re supposed to do.
Stereotypes against you? Break them. Lulled into complacency by the university to corporate assembly line? Wake up and walk out (eventually). Totally down and out — broke, depressed, few places to turn? I can’t personally relate to that situation, but you can’t say the phrase rags to riches without the rags part, right?
In spite of the obstacles in many of our lives, the unfairness, even the cruelty, there are countless success stories. Even though people who live out their dreams are a smaller percentage of the population, there’s still a hell of a lot of us.
Success is the best revenge. This is a cliche that couldn’t be more deadly accurate.
A reader once commented that he loved my writing and said he maybe noticed a little bit of cynicism in my tone. Yes, on the one hand, I’m very very optimistic when it comes to the individual. That’s why I try to focus on changing one person at a time — whoever wants to listen to what I have to say.
I believe that every individual has a chance to escape the system, but the system itself? Totally screwed. That’s what makes me feel emotions ranging from annoyed, to jaded, to feeling a burning hatred of the system we live in.
Like I’ve explained in a previous article, there’s no Illuminati or secret Cabal of people trying to hold us down, but the incentive structures in our society and insitutions cause people to make decisions that lead to this trapped lifestyle many of us live.
One the one hand, I try to check my own bias and understand that not everyone wants to “live a dream,” but then I always find myself asking, deep down, who doesn’t want to live a fucking dream? Maybe the ones who say they don’t are honest, or maybe they’ve given up, or maybe brainwashed, or maybe just think it’s too late.
In my humble opinion, the system — in lieu of some more choice words I might have — persuades us not to dream. Subtly. “Gotta be realistic.”
I can’t help but look into the eyes of so many people I come across and see a sense of longing. I get messages from people every day that confirm this feeling I get — people who feel cheated, feel like they’ve wasted time, feel like they’ve been simultaneously gently and forcefully nudged into being complacent.
I take this jaded energy and try to help others escape. Success is my way of pointing a throbbing middle finger at the system. Success can be your way of getting out the deep-seated feelings you have — often aggressive ones.
I always go back to this quote:
“We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” — Tyler Durden
If you feel this way, maybe…use it. Is having a chip on your shoulder healthy? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s effective.
Feel a little pissed off about the way your life has turned out? Feel duped? Feel tricked? Use it.
You’re not out to get anyone. Actually, you’re putting a lot of positive energy in the world — looking the system in the eyes with a smirk on your face while you spread the type of energy the system hates. That’s the revenge I want you to get.
You’re better than you think you are. You’re better than all the messages in the media say you are. You don’t need anyone. You don’t even need me. But you do need to be in your own corner.
You get glimpses of this feeling from time to time. You kinda tell yourself “Dammnit [insert your name here], you know you can do this!” Then the energy subsides, the motivation wanes, and you get back in a rut again.
But you keep hearing that voice from time to time. Maybe you’ve buried it more over the years. Maybe it’s quieter. But it’s still there.
Listen to that voice.
It’s the real you.
Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.