How to Achieve Your Goals By Creating an Enemy

Correct Causes

Powerless if You Think You Are

Embracing the Enemy

Here’s the gist:

  • If used correctly, scapegoating can be a powerful tool for resisting temptation and sticking to hard goals. It can also be dangerous and backfire if used incorrectly.
  • Assigning blame is a kind of psychological defense mechanism that frees us from uncomfortable feelings when bad things happen out of our control, or when we don’t want to accept that we are responsible for our own problems.
  • Nothing can be done when bad things happen as a result of circumstances truly beyond our control. But we’re often more powerful than we think we are when it comes to our own behavior. Studies have found that people who believe that temptations control them are much more likely to give in.
  • As long as we target the behavior at the root of the problem, creating an imaginary enemy — projecting our struggle onto the scapegoat — can make us feel more powerful and help us resist temptation or achieve our goals.

What do you think?

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Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal

Posts may contain affiliate links to my two books, “Hooked” and “Indistractable.” Get my free 80-page guide to being Indistractable at: NirAndFar.com