“Resentment is a fire that burns with more light than heat.”
— Shakespeare (Well, not really, but kinda)
There is much to commend in that quote. Resentment, animosity, bitterness, rancor, anger, malice… these can all be powerful motivators. As in, they can really propel us to get a lot done. Channeling them pushes us into action and make us productive. Sometimes even very, very, productive.
The thing is though, just as there is a difference between being efficient and being effective, there is a difference between being productive and being fruitful. Resentment may get a lot done, but the results are often crap. It doesn’t produce outcomes or works of weight and worthiness that we can be proud of.
So, while it may give us that burning rush, it’s all just a light show, with nothing left to actually drive the engine. It doesn’t move us forward. Worse, we may well, unwittingly, instead lead ourselves backwards.
It can be work to find a fuel that burns warmer than that of resentment and its ilk, but it is worth it. It may not churn out things as fast, and it may feel less viscerally intense, but that which it produces endures… solid, authentic, beautiful, and worthy of who we truly are.
* For an additional take on this, here’s a video by John Green