Adopt a nemesis (Exercise #3)

April 24, 2006

My definition of a nemisis isn't quite straight from the dictionary.  To me, a nemesis is someone whose life you envy and who you can use as a vision with a name and a face in order to try and catch up to them.  Adopting a nemesis is a great way to visualize the future because you can idealize their good qualities, ignore their bad ones, and use the neutral qualities simply as filler that help you better imagine your own future.  I've had nemeses my whole life and when I look back on them I realize that each subsequent nemesis is a bit further ahead, and that, in many ways, each one represents a particular part of my life that I was interested in working on at the time.  When that part of my life was figured out, I stopped thinking of them as my nemesis and moved on to the next one.  Another funny coincidence is that I generally became good friends with my nemeses… this type of nemesis relationship doesn't have to be one of hatred or bitter jealousy, but rather appreciation for their strengths and a desire to learn from them and absorb as many of the traits as possible.

Traits you want to look for in a good nemesis:

  1. Someone that is experiencing some aspect of live that you wish you were experiencing.  Whether it's that they are a published writer, or seem to have great friends, or own a bar… it can be anything as long as it's something that you want for yourself.
  2. Someone that you can research.  Whether it's because they've had biographies or that they have a blog or that you know where they hang out regularly, it's good to have some exposure to them so you can watch them and plot and plan against.
  3. Someone who's name you can invoke in a state of wrath or jealousy.  We all have weaker moments and those moments are easier to handle if you can treat your nemesis as a bit of a scapegoat and egger-on.  If something is proving difficult, just imagine your nemisis's smug face doing that task with ease and usually this will help spurn you on a bit longer, if only to show them that you are someone to reckon with.

Of course, you don't want to take this too far and actually go about sabotaging your nemesis.  A good nemesis is all in you mind.  And, like I said, can sometimes even be a good friend in "real life".

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One Response to “Adopt a nemesis (Exercise #3)”

  1. Maggie Says:

    This entry is kind of related: fueling motivation with hate.


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