Updated: September 21, 2019
One of the subjects that we study as kids in school is Language.
It is during these years that we learn not only the definition of words, but their synonyms and antonyms as well.
We learned that if something is beautiful, then you can also say that it is pretty. To be intelligent is also the same as being wise.
We know that the opposite of tall is short. And if something is not big, then it must be small or tiny.
However, as we grow up, our vocabulary expands and the words we learned when we were young start to have more profound definitions. And we begin to understand them on a wider spectrum.
Today, I hope to stretch your perspective on three common words.
We all have a good idea of what love means. And I hope you know how it feels to be in love. But what do you consider as the opposite of the word LOVE?
The most common answer would be HATE.
But personally, I believe that it is more accurate to say that the opposite of love, romantic love in particular, is INDIFFERENCE.
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel originally proposed this idea. He says that to feel hate is to have intense emotions for a person, which means their existence, at a minimum, matters to you.
That’s why the best way to know if you’ve already moved on from a heartbreak is when you’re already indifferent towards them or your history.
When they have no more power to make you feel sad, angry, jealous, or whatever emotion there is, then you can say that you don’t love them anymore.
Depression is synonymous to sadness. And thus, most people will say that its opposite is HAPPINESS.
But I’ve recently learned that there is another way to look at DEPRESSION, which makes it better to say that its antithesis is RESILIENCE.
American psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Kramer claims that the opposite of depression is not happiness, but emotional resilience. It is the ability to cope with life’s frustrations without falling apart.
Depression is not a stranger to me, especially because I am an entrepreneur.
Starting and growing a business is not easy, and it can be brutal at times. And as the award-winning article, The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship points out, being an entrepreneur feels like riding a lion.
People see and admire them for being so brave. But deep inside, the entrepreneur is dealing with internal struggles. They’re thinking, “How the hell did I get on a lion, and how do I keep from getting eaten?”
Through the years, I’ve learned that it is normal to be sad or depressed, even if there’s no strong reason at all for you to feel that way.
And rather than fighting these emotions, I discovered that the best way to cope is to just let it run its course — to be resilient.
This means accepting the fact that it is happening, and making self-care your focus, which includes seeking professional help if needed.
By now, you already know what I’m going to say — that the opposite of SUCCESS is not FAILURE. I believe that it is INACTION.
In his book, The Lessons School Forgot, Steve Sammartino writes:
“The fear of something entrepreneurial is mostly in our heads, rooted in our childhood indoctrination about not making mistakes, not taking risks, avoiding any red pen next to our names.
The worst-case scenario is we get better at what we already do and make new connections we can leverage the next time we try.
In any case, failure is not the opposite of success; inaction is. While we are ‘failing’ we are progressively realizing our worthy ideal.”
Indeed, I have yet to meet a successful person who didn’t fail at something.
Or to put it in another way, all successful people I’ve met are doers. Success didn’t come to them while they’re sitting at home and watching television, they went out of the house and sought their fortune.
Words are powerful.
And when it comes to how you will define the words such as the three given above, the right perspective can have the power to change your life.
Rather than hating and seeking revenge on the person who broke your heart, focus on learning how to live without them.
Rather than struggling when a wave of depression hits you, focus on the virtue of gratitude and live your life, just one day at a time.
And rather than becoming paralyzed by your fear of failure, focus on taking action and learning in every step, until you discover the right path towards your success.