Searching for Vindication

It’s easy for people with contrarian ideas and opinions to long for public validation. After years of being mocked and worn down, there’s a tendency to fantasize about one great moment where all your opponents are owned and utterly embarrassed.

This is true in politics, business, and even sports. When you see something few others seem to see and you get ignored, or gaslit into thinking you are all alone and crazy for what you see, the desire for vindication and comeuppance grows. Sometimes it’s innocent, but the vindication fantasy can become dangerous.

Being contrarian and right is powerful. It takes courage, but it can have big upside. But if you let all your energy go into fantasies about some external person or event out of your control revealing to the world that you’re right, you become impotent. You slip into cultism, idolatry, delusion, frustration, delayed action, and uselessness.

Useful contrarianism requires that you accept that there is no big reveal that will happen where your enemies will be vanquished and doubters will bow and apologize.

The only person who can vindicate you is you. And the world almost certainly won’t acknowledge it even when you’re right. They’ll pretend they always knew, or you got lucky.

Don’t focus on being taken seriously or perceived as correct. Act on what you know, get the results you want in your own life, don’t look to anyone else for salvation, and don’t become desperate for acceptance. The great reveal is not coming. Only what you do today will manifest in your life tomorrow.

Anyone promising to vindicate you is probably playing you.

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Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis, an awesome startup apprenticeship program. He is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning. When he’s not with his wife and kids or building his company, he can be found smoking cigars, playing guitars, singing, reading, writing, getting angry watching sports teams from his home state of Michigan, or enjoying the beach.

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