Our enemy: The one we missed the most?

Il Tao - Good/Evil "I pitagorici dicono c...

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Why there are certain life moments we feel worth to remember? Because they fix things in our life. Because it changes things in life into something better.

Think of them. The moments we felt we were appreciated. Moments when we feel we were so precious for some people. Times when we feel we were able to overcome obstacles. Such life moments are worth to remember, because they were times when we find our self-worth, and feel happy about them.

Obviously, most people will not includes their moments with people who opposed them in the list. Why? Well, most will argue, those who are in opposition with us are our enemies or foes, people who are not really along with us. How can we have moments worth-remembering with foes?

I don’t think I have the precise answer. I, however, believe that our enemies or foes are somewhat major parts of who we are. They affect our lives in many incredible ways. Let’s consider the following examples. Most people spent their time to solve problems they believed was caused by others. These ‘problem-causing others’ are basically people who get in our way. They are constraints, hindrances or obstacles in getting what we want. They are our ‘enemy’ or ‘foe’.

But, by facing them, we learn how to improve ourselves and how to face challenges. By dealing with them, we find ourselves, and we determine what we will be.

In what makes it even more interesting is when we find ourselves valuable in the responses of those who against our stand. In the business of organizational change and development, I found two major types of response definitely related in deciding how noteworthy our idea for change is: The support of the common and the resistance of big oppositions.  The supports from the common may not always a privilege every idea for change can get. Resistance, on the contrary, is something every idea for change will experience. I think it’s a nature in life that there will always be people who resist our idea, against our stand.

But, if those who resist or oppose your idea are ‘big players’, then obviously your idea is something. If many and strong players against our stand, chance is that our stand is incredibly sound. Thus, our idea for change is threatening for those who believe their interest will be in jeopardy because of our stand. In short, is our enemy who validates our value.

Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin: Are you indispensable? , shows us the role of a linchpin; people who are able to overcome challenge, against all odds and tame all constraints to get things done. As Godin said, linchpins are noticeable not by their titles or occupational resumes, but by their reputable works and historical results. Works and results are evidence of how they deal with challenges and constraints. Our strength is in fact a description of how we face challenges and overcome ordeals. I see this as a very fundamental nature in our life.

In many fables and folklores from various cultures, death is mortal enemy of humanity. Yet, when we look into those stories, we learn that this eternal foe of our life is in fact our best friend in the journey of finding the value of life. Mythical heroes and legendary sages are known for their chivalrous life, particularly for their valor in battle against their deathly enemy. Death is in fact the inspiration for most actions in our life.

Without the bad wolf, Red Riding Hood will not worthy enough for to read for our children. Without the atrocity of the Pharaoh, Moses will be only one prince among other princes in Egypt history. Without George W. Bush controversial administration, Barrack Obama will only a young senator from Illinois who wanted to be a president. Progressive exists through the existence of conservatives. Without American influence in global world as his enemy, Osama bin Laden may just another prince from Saudi Arabia. Illiteracy is the very basic reason education should exist. Without diseases, medical doctors may just another kind of job. Without the existence of their enemy, they may as well be less influential in history.

Without those who resistant to change, change itself may just be a meaningless idea. Without those who oppose us, we found ourselves less meaningful. Without our enemy, we will be lonely….and less validated. It’s a quite an overwhelming paradox, isn’t it?

I believe, in the future shaped by uncertainty and volatility, we need to embrace this paradoxical relation with our ‘enemy’ better……Perhaps, it is them who we should be more appreciate to….

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22 responses to “Our enemy: The one we missed the most?

  1. Wuah gila Pak. Aku banget nih artikel. Kyk ada resonansi jiwa antara guru dan murid (mppreeett…)

    Temenan loh, iki sejalan dgn visi hidupku. I want to rise to be the “necessary evil” for some groups, so that they won’t sit comfort in unreal…ized defects anymore, fight me, then change into something better. Makanya saya pake image “Black-winged Angel” sebagai profile ^^

    Iblis itu perlu ada untuk meneguhkan kebaikan dan keperkasaan Tuhan serta mendewasakan manusia. Ngono be’e perumpamaane. Hahahahaha.

    • We are living in co-existence🙂 Hence, we are ‘enemy’….or even ‘evil’, for some others.
      Intinya sih menurutku pada balancing function-nya, dimana ‘musuh’ itu guru terbaik. Ini juga banyak bisa kita temui dalam banyak peristiwa sejarah dimana terjadi situasi begini:
      “yang paling paham diri kita ternyata musuh kita, dan ketika mereka tiada kita pun menjadi gundah gulana”

      Hehehehe……..

      • Betul pak, balancing function. Nah karena saya punya pikiran bahwa cara mengajari yang tercepat salah satunya adalah dengan menjadi musuh, sparring partner, makanya saya dari dulu-dulu dah punya visi hidup begiti pak. Dan visi ini juga semakin diteguhkan setelah ikut PO. Hahahahaha.

      • Hehehehe…..tapi segala konteks butuh pedekatan berbeda, Vin. Jadi sangatlah baik bila kamu mau secara rutin ‘menguji’ asumsimu dari waktu ke waktu. Things change, and we are exist to response to any adaptive challenge comes from it😉

  2. apakah ini bisa menjadi legitimasi bapak yang menjadi “enemy” bagi mayoritas angkatan 07?^^

    omong2 soal musuh saya perna dengar kata2 yg pas dengan post bapk ini: musuh bisa jadi cermin terbaik,. 🙂

    • Ini nggak ada hubungan dengan angkatan 07 hahahahaha…….dirimu terlalu memproyeksi sebuah peristiwa kecil dalam bentuk generalisasi kemana-mana. Itu kesesatan berpikir🙂

      Ini terinspirasi dari salah satu klien yang decision makernya kolektif (maklum visinya social business, sehingg malah seringkali ribut sendiri tanpa arah), dimana ada yang merespon dengan dukungan dan ada yang ‘ketakutan’. Yang saya bicarakan disini adalah konsep change agency, terutam hubungan antara change initiator-sponsor-driver dengan change subversive-victim. Justru keduanya lah yang memberi energi bagi bergeraknya perubahan; secara simplistiknya begitu. Bila ini yang kau maksudkan, maka ya memang ‘musuh’ adalah cermin terbaik.

      • hehe untungnya kesesatan pikiranny saya ungkapkan jadi ga sesat beneran,.
        ow jadi fungsi musuh sebagai cermin di sini itu bukan hal yang destruktif tp bisa digunakan agar terjadi perubahan menyeluruh to,.

      • hehe,. saya pernah menulis d wall saya hidup=parodok. rasanya musuh itu juga begitu,. awalnya saya pikir paradok itu agak ironis, tp y memang begitulah kenyataannya,. tergantung kita mau lihat dari segi yg mana,. ^^

  3. ha3x… saya sudah terlalu banyak musuh sampe ga tau arti sebuah musuh…ha3x…
    ya tp saya rasa mmg benar ketika qt mempunyai musuh maka insting qt untuk bertahan hidup dengan menjadi lebih baik dari musuh qt mulai berjalan…

    kl mnrt aq sian beda konsep. mmg bagi 07 pak james sebuah musuh.. tp tanpa keinginan untuk melawan… ya sama aja ga ada artinya… sedangkan sebagian lihat pak james sebagai mentor… bukan lawan.. lah ya apa mau menganggap sbg lawan, cara berpikirnya aja qt jg udah jauh tertinggal.. hrs byk do and LearN ..kl sudah cukup br melawan..ha3x…

    jadi mnrt aq musuh yg bs mempunyai makna buat qt yah jelas musuh yang sama hebatnya, atau musuh yg lebih hebat ( tp dalam artian musuh yg hebat ini punya makna yg lebih jika bisa mengalakannya, kl enggak yah insting buat berkembang untuk melawan ga jalan)…gt

    • Nah ini korban dari proyeksi Sianny yang membuat diskusi social constructionism ini jadi menyempit🙂

      Saya tidak ada pendapat tentang musuh angkatan 07….karena essentially and practically, saya tidak melihat teman-teman 07 sebagai musuh….Yang mungkin adalah bahwa kalianlah yang menganggap saya sebagai musuh. Nah disini contoh dari yang saya maksudkan dalam tulisan di atas. Persepsi saya sebagai musuh menunjukkan bahwa ada sesuatu dari yang saya lakukan yang ‘membahayakan’ posisi kalian🙂

      That must mean something! Persepsi itu menunjukkan bahwa apa yang saya lakukan memvalidasi ‘sesuatu’ dari teman2. Sebab kalau teman2 tidak punya ‘sesuatu’, saya tentunya tidak repot-repot bereaksi terhadap teman2. Maka, ‘sesuatu’ itu pasti berharga. Persoalannya adalah bahwa apa ‘sesuatu’ itu sudah teman2 pahami dengan baik, dan gunakan dengan baik agar bisa sparring dengan lebih asyik dengan ‘musuh’mu?

      Bila ini yang dimaksudkan oleh Handoko, maka saya rasa kita sepakat.

  4. I can think of one phenomenon in history: the first is the concept of devil’s advocates, namely the seed for the concept of “lawyer” in modern legal practices. They exist only to challenge the reasoning of inquisition in the history of Catholic Rome in the process of condemning heresy. A little bit scary I suppose.:)

    In the end, your enemy is defining who you are. Your article confirms old saying: people do not learn to build high walls from their friend, but from their enemy.

    • Yes, the history of devil’s advocate was, and still is, a good reminder for everyone of how terrifying an inquisition power could be, and how twisted its counter-resistance can also be🙂 I see this as a bit ironic, as I put it this way: “The more you fight the devil, the closer you are to become the devil itself”😉

      Yes, I agree with “people do not learn to build high walls from their friend, but from their enemy”.
      My addition would only this: Some choose to learn and explore what beyond the walls, while still keeping what inside the wall in security. They define themselves as the people we often call as ‘progressive, self-improving and self-expanding’.
      But, some others choose to live in isolation within the wall, and start to believe that the world is only limited to what is within the wall. This people define themselves as what we refer as: ‘conservatism, fundamentalism, and so on’.

  5. saya stuju dengan ”musuh adalah guru terbaik” seperti yg Mr. James katakan.. tp saya kurang setuju dgn pak James yg mengatakan bahwa musuh kita adalah orang yang paham akan diri kita.. itu asumsi bapak dan mgkn base on experrience yg bapak alami,, bsa jadi asumsi orang lain berbeda.. bt ku musuh terbesar adalah ketakutan dalam diri..itu artinya saya adalah orang yg paling paham akan diri saya… mohon tanggapan pak.. hehehe…

    • Hahahaha……nice point of view! Saya paham maksudnya.

      Seingat saya…dan sudah saya baca lagi, saya tidak mengatakan bahwa musuh adalah yang paham diri kita. Tapi saya paham bahwa itu mungkin saja terjadi bila kutipan “yang paling paham diri kita ternyata musuh kita, dan ketika mereka tiada kita pun menjadi gundah gulana” ini diartikan bukan sebagai kutipan, alias tanda kutipnya tidak dinterpretasikan……..Ini seperti juga tulisan “tukang” di dalam sebuah milis baru-baru ini hahahaha………..🙂

      Nah, seperti yang kamu katakan, yang ‘seharusnya’ paling paham tentang kita ya diri kita. Tapi, sebagaimana saya tuliskan dalam tanda kutip, kondisi seharusnya ini kan seringkali tidak terjadi. Bila orang merefleksikan dengan jeli, maka adalah kecenderungan kita untuk tidak tahu kekurangan kita. Saya pikir manusia punya kecenderungan tidak melihat apa yang kurang dari dirinya, karena pada dasarnya kita tidak tahu apa yang kita tidak tahu hehehehe……

      Uniknya, yang sudah ‘ditakdirkan’ untuk paham ‘kelemahan’ kita ya musuh kita hahahahaha….Kan istilah ‘musuh’ itu, kalau mau jujur diakui, adalah sebutan untuk orang yang tahu kelemahan kita hehehe……..Orang yang bisa menohok kita dengan tepat sasaran, tanpa kita tahu bahwa yang ditohok itu titik lemah….Ya nggak?

      Artinya, dari ‘musuh’ lah kita bercermin dan belajar atas kelemahan kita. Lebih menarik lagi, ‘musuh’ itu biasanya juga tahu kekuatan kita, karena untuk bisa kita anggap ‘musuh’, dia pasti bisa menghindari sisi kuat kita dan selalu bisa mengincar kelemahan kita. Dia selalu belajar untuk menghindari bermain dengan apa yang kita tahu, dan mengeksploitasi apa yang kita tak tahu. Perilaku begini ini kan yang bikin kita jadi jengkel, karena sesungguhnya kita malu bahwa ‘musuh’ ini lebih tahu tentang diri kita daripada kita sendiri. Maka kita label dia sebagai ‘musuh’🙂

      Jadinya, dengan berkaca dari merekalah, kita melihat diri kita sendiri secara lebih utuh. Itu maksudku menulis “yang paling paham diri kita ternyata musuh kita, dan ketika mereka tiada kita pun menjadi gundah gulana” hehehehe🙂

  6. Well James, I think the biggest enemy for me is my self. Why? because it comes instantly if the conditions below are meet. 1st, unaware condition, and it caused majorly by lost of consciousness.
    2nd, Unstable emotion & immaturity when response an occurred event which influence my feeling by triggering it. 3rd, response of environmental around me when the event occurred. Both of them were not be affected good or bad situation, news, or other psychology parameters, but how to response an occurred event. for example, Mr. Bean get a promotion to become a marketing manager. I think that this is a good news for him, but maybe not for his competitors and his friends. actually, when he get this promotion, purposely or not, it’s possible for him to create new enemies. Now, let’s see how Mr. Bean give responses to this event. When he get this promotion, I’m really sure that he is very proud. then, the first enemy will appear. proud potentially trigger arrogant, and it comes from him self, unaware or not. if he allows it, then “the devil” will smile, and of course, his enemies will risen and grow up, so this is only time factor when he falls into the “hell”. Another possibility, if he reject it with his consciousness with understanding his new position roles, responsibilities, and other attributes of his position, he will become a great manager with great leadership. everybody will respect to him including his enemies. in this case, he has opportunities to change enemies to allies, and this is good for his future career & next promotions to higher level. So, this time, my point is an awareness about 1st response will effect the next events, like a radio communication.

    • Yes, my friend, I agree with all you have said!
      The ‘enemy’ is only a reflection in the mirror of the true enemy: Ourself! Once we able to see that true enemy, then we will know how to deal with him or her. That will help us to gain respect, and change ‘enemy’ into allies🙂

      I love the way you describe it!

      • Thanks James, your post here make me remember when I practicing Wu Shu in the past. My ambition & egoism makes me forget about principal of Wu Shu it self, and I start to destroy my self with wrong ambition. Nowadays, I’m very shy for everything I’ve been done, but the good news is I can fix my fault with the true path with following the Wu Shu principal, keep practicing step by step, especially for Tai Ji Quan. Maybe I can’t perform movement as good as in the past, but my skill has completely transformed into spirit & understanding about Wu Shu with maturity, and use it for my work & life. I can prove that I can survive & exist to live in Jakarta, and become something from nothing. My spirit with Wu Shu’s wisdom keep me to be pure, and this is very important for me to keep “pure” every values in my soul. The main point is: In the past, I’ve been defeated completely by my self, but now, I can prove that I can defeat my self with “honor”. I always remember about TS, and I hope you always remember this our first organization as our base to reach successfully in life now and the future. Well, It’s only a little sharing about my life, and for the last thing, keep forward to reach the future with “honor” & “pure soul”……..

  7. Hehehe…..
    You remind me about a topic in psychological theory….yes, about Kurt Lewin.
    Enemy is the most creature that could make us “move” from one to one field…
    Mumpung nganggur iseng2 nulis….
    Just remember about the dynamic of life, sometimes, enemy drive us choose the wrong path. Remember, humanity always have a mechanism that could hold them into comfort area (well, sometimes the good things -by our perception – is our comfort area. I catch the essential thing in all of your conversation, that the enemy will be destructive for us if we follow our psychological mechanism without a deep analyzing of the context.
    We can’t deny that sometimes “the devil” – as the most people associate it – show us the way to go through our problem. Sometimes we need to make something evil to satisfy our need that has been blocked and make us can’t move forward (unconsciously).
    Then, well, sometimes we need to let the devil give us pleasure without we get controlled by its. Just remember, the devil was also one of component in universal system among us.
    Let us imagine, just like when we’re driving we need to press the brake – a little while – to cross the car in front of us. Sometimes we need to stop and listen to the devil then “accelerate our car” to move forward.

  8. Yeah, just like many religion said about what was determined for us : “Obey My Order and avoid what I prohibit”. It has a meaning that the forbidden thing must be exist as long as we breath.

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