07 January, 2013

It is good to have enemies

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

What does that mean?
This quote is about enemies, and one of the ways you accumulate them. Specifically, this quote talks about getting enemies by taking a stand for something. Standing for something tends to annoy those who stand against that thing, and usually means that you have generated some animosity at a minimum, and (at most) an enemy (or enemies, as the case may be).
 So, what have you stood for in your life, and how many enemies have you accumulated in the process?
Why is standing for something important?  
How many people do you know who are squishy, who will not stand for something? Please note there is a difference between not wanting to talk about politics, religion or other sensitive topics. I’m talking about people who can’t seem to make a decision, or will support whatever the most influential (or scariest) person in the room says they are in favor of.
Another word for a person like that is a wind-sock, as they go which ever way the wind blows. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s much of a way to live. Standing for something (or several somethings) is part of defining of who you are and what you believe. If you don’t stand for anything, what does that say about who you are and what you believe?
How easily do you think you could end up with people disliking you, or even declaring themselves your enemy over these issues?
Having enemies is one of the better motivations to stay heads-down on producing the highest quality results.  If you have enemies who keep you focused and motivated,  consider yourself lucky.  They provide balance to an equation which can otherwise go unchecked when you have none.  After stretches of time unbalanced, it’s possible to become complacent and suffer stagnation.It’s a signal to others that you are worth paying attention to.  People will be compelled to pay attention to you since someone else worthwhile is paying attention to you (even if it’s negative).

And controversy, artfully directed, can lead to some seriously powerful outcomes.  With being resourceful the strategy of so many these days, controversy is a way to position yourself against others and stand out. 
Naturally between enemies there will be a division of thought, with people drawn to both sides.  By being the known enemy of a certain persona or even viewpoint, you position yourself to capture  the attention from the other side.
Despite what you’ve been taught, enemies are a positive.  
Hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove.  In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies.  If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.
If your communications involve walking on eggshells and you’re afraid you might make an enemy or upset someone, you’re not really embracing the social web. Making enemies is a natural byproduct of being a part of our society, and thus if you’re truly being social this will happen on the web. If not, how much personality are you really injecting?
This is not a negative thing so don’t take it as such. The web and the world itself involve balance: between enemies and allies, friends and strangers, supporters and defectors. We need enemies to push us to the next level, challenge us and cause us to think and improve. They give us perspective and remind us of our purpose.
Embrace the full range of emotion and possibility in your content and interactions even if it might involve creating an enemy. Letting that stop you inevitably means falling short of your potential as a creative.