Thanks to my friend Jim McCune for this timely message.
How To Over-Come Discouragement
by Philip Humbert
Recently, I’ve received a number of emails asking how to motivate
ourselves and push forward when we are discouraged. Sometimes the
writer describes it as depression, other times they use words like
frustration, or feeling “stuck” and they want to know how to turn
things around. That’s a great question!
We all feel discouraged or frustrated or “stuck” at some point in
our lives. Whether it’s being at our “wits end” with our kids or
scared that a business venture won’t work out, or confused by our
own behavior around something we very much want but seem unable to
achieve, we all have these feelings!
Unfortunately, one of the first things I notice is that many of the
writers are asking terrible questions! They ask me “why am I so
stuck?” or, “Why does this always happen to me?” Notice the
assumptions they make about being “so” stuck and that this sense of
discouragement or frustration “always” happens. With questions like
that, no wonder they stay stuck!
A much better question is, “How do highly successful people handle
these normal experiences and get back on track?”
Here are a few of my observations about how successful people
handle the roadblocks and frustrations of life.
1. First, they acknowledge that what they are doing isn’t working,
and they stop to catch their breath. They do NOT beat their head
against a wall! Take a break! Get some objectivity and relax for a
moment. If you’re discouraged, frustrated, depressed or stuck, be
honest enough to say, “this isn’t working” and give yourself a rest.
2. Second, they get curious. They want to understand exactly what’s
happening. There is a difference between being discouraged, which
has to do with fatigue (it may be time for a vacation), verses
depression, which is an illness (it may be time to see a doctor).
Frustration, on the other hand, is the firm belief that my goal is
entirely possible, it’s just not happening yet!
3. They double-check their values and highest aspirations. Often we
are frustrated because our goal is not consistent with our values.
Sometimes we sabotage or procrastinate because deep inside we don’t
truly want the thing we say we want. Human beings can achieve
amazing results when they are totally committed. Unfortunately, we
are also capable of fooling ourselves about this.
4. They ask great questions. They ask, “What worked for me in the
past?” or “How have other people solved this problem?” They consult
with experts, read books, search the Internet, and find answers
that can help them move forward. If nothing else, they ask, “What
crazy, off-the-wall thing could I try just for fun?”
5. They take DIFFERENT action. After checking their values, perhaps
taking a short rest, and asking great questions, successful people
do something different than what they were doing. They try another
way. They hire an assistant or a consultant. They develop a new
strategy or change their approach.
I’ve come to believe that discouragement, a sense of failure, and
especially frustration are actually very useful “early warning
signs.” They are the brain’s way of telling us our objective is
reachable, but that we are going about it the wrong way. These
normal experiences tell us to step back, get perspective, take a
deep breath, and think clearly! Strategize. Get creative. Ask
And most important, clarify your values and be certain they support
you in achieving your goal. I think ambivalence is perhaps the
greatest source of discouragement. We want more money, but don’t
want to be away from home. We want to lose weight, but enjoy eating
too much. Get clear!
When our values align with our goals, and we ask the right
questions, anything is possible! Use discouragement to your
advantage! It’s your brain telling you to pause, develop a better
strategy, and work smarter rather than harder.
Quotes of the Week
“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride
down there and light the bloody thing yourself.”
— Sara Henderson
“Identify your problems, but give your power and energy to
— Anthony Robbins
“Success is neither magical or mysterious. Success is the natural
consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”
— Jim Rohn
“Fantasies are more than substitutes for unpleasant reality, they
are also dress rehearsals; plans. All acts performed in the world
begin in the imagination.”
— Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Thoughts reap Actions,
Actions reap Habits,
Habits reap Character,
and Character reaps Destiny.
….this one was on my friend Dan’s Mom’s fridge:
Aspire to Inspire before You Expire.
Never let your Knowledge outweigh your Enthusiasm!