Discouragement – Don’t Let It Steal Your Dreams

 In Goals, Negative emotions, Overwhelm, Self confidence

I find discouragement can slowly creep in and take over my mood, or it can suddenly hit me like a crashing wave.  Either way, I feel heavy, dispirited, and I totally lose motivation.  I feel like giving up. Has this ever happened to you?

Some common triggers for me are an unexpected obstacle or something that just doesn’t go as easy as I expected. 

Over the past couple of years, I’ve watched waves of discouragement hit my husband as he tackled a totally new project.  He’s not a writer (he’s a machinist), but he’s been working on publishing a children’s book that captures one of our daughter’s favorite stories that he made up for her.  The discouragement would vary, sometimes related to how long things were taking.  “This is never going to get done! I should just quit now.”  Or “Why would anyone want to read something I wrote?”

Now the book is finally finished!  Yippee!  But the discouragement doesn’t end.  Just because you put a book on Amazon doesn’t mean people will find it and buy it.  So these days the discouragement sounds like, “No one wants to read my book!”  This can feel especially troubling after we’ve done a promotion like a giveaway or an interview.

Despite the many times he wanted to give up, my husband stuck with it and persevered.  Now, when he talks to elementary school classes about writing his book, he shares three lessons that he’s learned:

  • Don’t give up on your dreams.  It’s not how smart you are but how good you are at persevering.
  • Surround yourself with sources of inspiration to lift your spirits and keep you motivated.  One of his favorites is the video of Heather Dorniden, the college track runner who takes a nasty fall during a 600 meter race, yet gets back up and, to everyone’s utter amazement, wins!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  When we run into an obstacle or just need some encouragement, we should reach out to others.

What situations have caused you to get discouraged?  How can you use the three “lessons” from above the next time you feel like giving up?


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Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is Chief Positivity Officer of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association.


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