Just once, I’d like a cool arch nemesis. Wouldn’t you? Something out of a Marvel movie. But no, we have to deal with lame foes like frenemies, asshole coworkers, and deadbeat cousins. Your arch nemesis might just be the aunt who buys a hundred birthday presents for your kid, even though you keep asking her to stop.
Or if you’re a professor, the occasional know-it-all student.
Honestly, it’s boring. And such a pain.
The worst nemesis is the skeptical colleague. The one who can’t just disagree with you and move on. They have to lean back and smirk. Adopt a certain tone. Bring the meeting to a complete halt.
They need the floor for a minute, guys. It’s going to take them a while to unpack and display their full disdain for whatever it is you just said. And it really pisses you off.
The skeptical colleague has to educate everyone. Specifically about the flaws in your ideas. Their criticism doesn’t even make sense. Like how do we know space aliens won’t show up and attack us if we go with your idea? Have you taken earthquakes into account, hmm?
Identify your lame nemesis.
Everyone has a nemesis in real life. They’re not a singular threat, more of a personality type. They represent the opposite of how you want to live. They’re your antithesis. Simply talking to them for five minutes can trigger you, and all your secret vulnerabilities.
Your nemesis might not regard themselves as such. They probably think they’re awesome. Which makes things even worse.
You can’t usually sit your nemesis down for coffee and explain to them why — contrary to their internal narrative— they suck. But it’s worth taking some time to figure out what bugs you about them so much.
Study your lame nemesis.
Take my nemesis type, the skeptical colleague. They simply have to beat down everyone else’s ideas to make their own look good. They never get anything done, because they devote all their time to promoting their plans and proving that they’re better than yours.
The skeptic pulls this move all the time. They care about looking smart, and love proving people wrong. They’re always trying to advise, fix, dispute, or stall progress. They’re always dismissing and minimizing what we do, meanwhile telling everyone “she works too hard.”
Stop getting pissed off at your nemesis.
Strip their power away by understanding their moves. When you understand what motivates them, they shouldn’t make you angry anymore. You’re giving them too much credit.
We secretly like to give other people control over our lives. Friends, parents, colleagues. We let them hold us back. We wait for their permission to do things. We seek their blessing. Then we get angry at them. We blame them for why we aren’t happier, or more successful.
You’d be amazed at how little permission you actually need to do anything. Your nemeses can’t actually stop you. So just walk past them. Ignore them. If you have to, pretend their opinion matters.
Stop fueling your nemesis.
Your nemesis wants to argue with you. They want your time and attention. So disengage. Look around the room, so to speak. Explain your ideas to everyone else. Get them on board.
Or just do what you think should get done. Let your nemesis criticize and complain. It’s just noise.
Your nemesis will spend all day in conflict with you, if they can. To them, it feels fun. They don’t care about getting anything done. A productive day for them is to keep everyone else from accomplishing anything.
Foil your nemesis and their plan.
Dealing with a nemesis can take less energy than you think. So you have an aunt who keeps loading your family down with presents. Not even good ones. Just a bunch of junk. You’ve tried talking to them. Instead of listening, they act all cute about it.
You know how I deal with this nemesis? We just started leaving all that shit at her house. Under the bed.
If she tried shipping it to us, we donated it. We didn’t get angry about it. Maybe she did. And we laughed it off. Finally, other relatives talked her into the original plan — one or two meaningful presents.
The result? Things have gotten better. We didn’t spend hours debating the issue. Usually, that’s pointless.
You can’t always change people.
At least not by arguing with them. But you can give them consequences. You can proceed with your plan, and let everyone see the results. That tends to beat a nemesis.
And it frees up galaxies of time.
You might never silence that skeptical coworker. That one friend or parent might keep judging you and doubting your life choices. So screw ’em. Stop fueling your nemesis. Go win, and watch them wither.