Mar 13, 2019:  ~ 4 min read

Why we should learn to overcome disappointment

This evening was ”one of those evenings”. I looked through the number of visitors on the blog, and the new section has almost no traction. The posts have mild success on Medium and I’m happy about it, but I would’ve loved a bit more traffic on here as well.

Ironically enough, today was pretty great, but this single ”bad news” made me soft. It put me down. I’m aware that this is also because I’m tired, but my morale still went down.

But I don’t just teach what I learn, I also try to follow what I teach, so I remembered that consistency is the second most important thing. And even though I didn’t feel like writing, I didn’t know what to write about, I was questioning if it even matters, if the effort will pay off, if I’m good enough … all these questions we usually ask ourselves in these moments … I still sat down and started writing.

Now, this was a mild disappointment; one that lives mostly in my head. My expectations were too high. And disappointment is the difference between expectation and reality. But the way we handle mild and small disappointments determines how we act on the big(ger) ones.

Like everything else, this also turns into a habit. If I would’ve given up and skipped this week, the next would’ve been easier to skip. Then it would've been easier to give up on that side project that is not getting the feedback I hoped for. Then it would've been easier to give up on that big dream that’s harder to reach than I expected.

Ultimately, this is only a hobby and I might stop writing at some point, but not in the face of a small disappointment. Not because ”I don’t feel like it today”. Not because ”it’s too hard”.

Every give up fuels the next one. Every time you give up, the next time will be that much easier to give up again. And slowly, without even realising, you end up in a state where giving up feels much more appealing than trying to overcome the obstacles.

And when giving up becomes easy, you stop searching for ways to find solutions for obstacles. At which point you’ll start feeling overwhelmed, because you can’t see any way to overcome what’s in front of you, so it’ll be easier to give up. A vicious circle forms.

The worst thing you can do is to give up in front of disappointment.

Do you think a pro athlete goes home and victimises themselves about the loss of a championship, on live TV? Or do they go back to training, putting in more effort, to be more prepared the next time?

Do you think famous actors gave up in the beginning, when they were rejected over and over? The answer is an obvious no, otherwise they wouldn’t be where they are now. I’m quite sure they went back to rehearsing, putting in more effort, to be more prepared at the next audition.

Over and over and over.

I’m not saying they don’t have feelings, that they don’t feel the disappointment, that they aren’t upset, sad, or that their morale isn’t rockbottom. It might be. But just for a little while. Or a longer while, sometimes. But what's important is that they get over it. They pick up the pieces and carry on, working harder and becoming stronger and wiser in the process.

Don’t let disappointments stop you in your tracks.

Is it hard sometimes? Good, that means you’ll be learning and growing. Is it painful sometimes? Good, that means the result will be that much satisfying. Does it feel like you can’t do it sometimes? Good, that means the confidence you’ll build will be that much stronger.

Feel what there is to feel, but don’t linger there for too long; you have better things to accomplish.

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