Can you unpack the psychology behind “I’ll show you” self-talk?

Angela Duckworth: It’s typically in response to “you cannot,” when someone says you’re not on the team, you didn’t make the cut, or you’re not good enough. “I’ll show you” is essentially “I’ll prove you wrong.”

Bill McRaven, the retired United States Navy admiral, in his book Make Your Bed, explains how he had one officer who he really believed in, and when he was going through weed-out challenges, he leaned over and whispered in his ear “prove me wrong.” These words are in the same vein as “I’ll show you”—McRaven was giving that officer encouragement. Many gritty people have the underdog mentality, and I think I’ve always had that, given the way I was raised.