“The best revenge is massive success.” – Frank Sinatra

This iconic quote from Ol’ Blue Eyes speaks to a primal human instinct – the desire to turn setbacks and adversity into fuel for extraordinary achievement. The sentiment suggests that instead of sinking to the level of those who have wronged us, we should strive to rise above and prove our worth through outstanding accomplishments.

When is the “massive success” approach to revenge appropriate?

Here are some scenarios where this mindset can be empowering:

  • Rejection and Underestimation: Whether you were turned down for a job, passed over for a promotion, or underestimated by someone, channeling that frustration into working harder and smarter can be highly motivating. Proving your doubters wrong with tangible success is immensely satisfying.
  • Betrayal or Heartbreak: While it might be tempting to wallow after a betrayal, focusing on personal growth, career advancement, or pursuing new passions can be a form of self-care and a demonstration of resilience.
  • Bullying or Criticism: Facing unjust criticism or bullying hurts, but letting your accomplishments speak for themselves can be a powerful way to turn the situation around.

When is it not appropriate?

It’s essential to keep these limitations in mind:

  • Illegal or Immoral Acts: Revenge should never involve crossing ethical boundaries or breaking the law. Harming others will only escalate conflict and harm yourself in the long term.
  • Obsession: Fixating on getting back at someone can consume your energy and cloud your judgement. It’s vital not to let revenge undermine your well-being or happiness.
  • Situations Requiring Action: Sometimes, inaction in the face of injustice or wrongdoing is the wrong approach. Turning a blind eye or only focusing on yourself can be harmful. For example, systemic inequities or serious offenses might require speaking out and taking direct action.

The Power of Reframing

Instead of fixating on “revenge,” focus on self-improvement and building a life that makes you truly happy. Success then becomes a byproduct of this pursuit rather than a means to an emotionally destructive end.

Sometimes, the most powerful response is not to stoop to the level of your detractors but instead to rise above the situation entirely. True success lies in living a fulfilling life aligned with your values and finding genuine happiness, with or without the approval of those who may have underestimated you.


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<a href="https://englishpluspodcast.com/author/dannyballanowner/" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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