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  • Girish Karnad

Can Revenge Be A Motivator?

Updated: Sep 3




A few months ago an article in the Times of India's Sunday section caught my eye. It was titled 'Revenge Bod'. It described how celebrities went on a fitness spree and pushed themselves to get a wonderful body, particularly after a relationship breakup or setback. Getting a revenge bod is supposed to have two outcomes - first it boosts the person's self esteem and second, makes the ex-partner feel jealous and regret the break-up. It is intended to convey a message that I am better off without you today. The article goes on to generalize - that this feeling is not just restricted to celebrities and break-ups. It applies to all of us and includes all types of setbacks in life.


Three years ago when I had to move out of my corporate job, I did a reality check and found that I had neglected myself royally over the last few years. Being a fitness enthusiast since my childhood, it was very embarrassing to find myself grow flabby, with a noticeable paunch. I put myself through the grind and a year later was proud to see myself fit and toned. The gradual improvements were indeed such a moral booster - that no amount of counselling or medication could have achieved such results. I found myself moving towards much greater heights even on the professional front. Success is indeed the sweetest revenge! Like the famous dialogue from the movie Gully Boy, I was ready to tell the world that "My Time Has Come".


Revenge is supposed to be a negative emotion. A lot has been written by experts on how this emotion is dangerous and can be self destructive. However, if this negative emotion can be channelized in the right direction, it can work wonders and produce completely opposite outcomes. Successful people are able to channel the emotions they experience in defeat as a catalyst to spur themselves towards greater heights. Instead of accepting defeat, high achievers work harder to prove themselves. They use revenge to prove those who rejected them wrong. As rightly said, forget about getting even - getting more successful hurts worse. The desire for revenge can indeed be an unstoppable motivator for such people.


I am sure all of us have gone through some type of major setback at least once in our life. How did you manage to cope with it? Did you at any time feel anger and the need for revenge? Were you able to channelize your emotion positively and emerge a winner?*


*Engage a Life Coach if you feel the need for help to channelize your negative emotions into positive results.

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