“Are you kidding? You can’t do it. You weren’t made for it, just look at yourself. Run home, and lock yourself in your room.You don’t want to ruin this evening. You shouldn’t even be here!”
I was standing on the backstage of my college theatre, my fingers crossed.
This was the first biggest event of my life- to host the annual fiesta of my college. I peeked from behind the curtains and witnessed hundreds of pair of eyes locked on the stage.
My thoughts kept admonishing me. My hands were cold as night and my throat dry as a desert. I was anxious like never before.
“Come on, you’ve never done it and you will never be able to do it.”
The thoughts were intense.
“There’s still time left to leave. You will only make a fool of yourself by going on the stage. Make up a reason and let this one go. You can do it next year perhaps, when you are better prepared for it.”
The thoughts were over-whelming.
I had to make a decision right then.
I looked first at the audience, and then to the exit door of the college. I didn’t want to embarrass myself.
“I can’t do it…” were the final thoughts.
I shut my eyes tight, took a long deep breath and still proceeded to the stage to host the event.
The same discouraging emotions surged through me when I was about to make the transaction for this blog, sitting in front of my desktop, and tapping my debit card on the table.
“You have never built a website before. You know shit about coding. You have no idea about web designing. Are you sure you can even write well?”
This time, again, I closed my eyes, took a long deep breath and purchased the hosting services for running my own blog- a task I’ve had no idea about and nobody to help me out.
Her name was Maya.
She made frequent visits to her favourite cafeteria in the area, while
returning from her office at noon.
A self made woman she was, and took pride in her abilities for she earned a fair income from her job.
This day was no unusual.
She sat on her regular table, sipping the delicious coffee and checking emails on her phone. She raised her eyes to take another sip from the cup…and that’s when it happened- the love at first sight ( according to her.)
The cafeteria had a new guest now- a guy of about her own age, someone whom she had never seen before at the place.
He sat at the table far from hers, who proceeded to take out a laptop from his bag.
She looked at him intently. He looked so fine.
She wanted to meet him.
“Of course you like him, but you can’t just go and introduce yourself to him. I mean, what would you even say? Hello, I am here to talk to you because I like you? That is creepy. You would come across as a stalker.”
She looked down, pondering on what she should do next, while her thoughts roared:
“And by the way, he is too good for you. Maybe he won’t like the way you look or talk. Maybe he likes brunettes. Maybe he is already taken, or even married! Yikes! Do you really want to face that situation?”
Her thoughts were about to prey on her when she stood up from the table and began walking in his direction.
“Damn! Are you crazy? Can’t you see he is busy right now? You can at least wait for him to finish whatever he is doing. He will just brush you off and you will face embarrassment right in front of everybody. This is the place you visit almost everyday, for God’s sake, imagine that!”
It was too late for her mind to coax her out of the situation. She was already standing right before him now.
“Excuse me, miss…can I help you?”
The guy asked, perplexed.
It was raining heavily outside.
People were rushing, looking for some place, any place, to cover their heads. Some others could be seen enjoying the heavenly fall, running and morbidly splashing the water accumulated in the potholes.
Sumit, an aspiring entrepreneur, was standing at his suite’s window,
consumed in his own thoughts.
“This is not a good idea…” his thoughts tried to coerce him.
“You have been there and you know how it will end up. You are going to screw this up all over again. Maybe listen to John and try being a teacher? At least, it provides stability.”
Sumit had already tried to launch two different businesses, but in vain.
The first one was a total fiasco.
The second one took off, but crashed and burned soon thereafter. It was his third attempt and he wasn’t feeling very good about it too.
His enthusiasm resembled an extinguishing flame and nothing seemed to be working for him. Having lost a great sum of money and a huge amount of time on his previous ventures, he was considering to quit his venture joyrides.
“What even makes you think it’s going to work?
Ask me. It’s not!
Better save cash, time and leg work. Maybe it’s not in your luck, buddy, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Accept the fact and move on. Millions of people live the average life, there is nothing wrong with it.”
He stretched his hand out of the window, relishing the cold rain droplets beating on his palm for a couple of minutes, ruminating on what his next course of action should be.
Then he ran the rain-wet hand on his face, and proceeded to write his next business plan.
Kajal sat alone on the couch of her tiny, dark apartment.
Indifferent and unaware of everything around her, she was staring into the space for the time which seemed like an eternity, and contemplated exactly where she went wrong.
Stunned, and perplexed at the same time, after a period of a couple of minutes, she broke down.
The intense flow of tears rolling down her cheeks was the testimony to her anguish which had been lurking within her for quite a while.
She had followed the plan meticulously and cautiously, leaving no room for any error resulting from carelessness, yet the results indicated otherwise.
Only 2.5 pounds shy of what she weighed a month ago.
She made it her goal to get her body back in shape and decided to lose at least 10 pounds of weight by the end of the month.
The amount of calories consumed were cut down to almost negligible, a reputed dietitian was consulted and gym membership was purchased to make it happen.
She was extremely motivated and sure of herself that by the end of the month, she would lose a considerable amount of weight.
Yet, even after planning all her meals according to the diet charts, and working out ferociously in the gym, today when she weighed herself, her dream was shattered.
Diet charts and journals which were previously pinned nicely on the bulletin board of her living room, and followed every day, now lay in the bin of her kitchen, all crushed and torn.
“You were born to be fat…” her mind chided. “You put all this effort, did all the hard work, trained like a dog…and what is the result? I always knew it was a bad idea to get back in shape,still you wanted to try…What did you gain?”
Her weeping became louder.
All she ever wanted to become was a little leaner than she is now, just a little bit. She had asked no more.
Her thoughts continued:
“You had better listen to me when I told you to accept yourself as a fat person. You have always been this way and you can’t change it. Getting lean and beautiful just isn’t what you were for…Anyways, do you know that Mr.Brown has a new chocolate cookie introduced in their shop? Let’s try that tomorrow.”
After a long mourning session on her failure of weight loss, she went
to sleep, completely hopeless about her situation, and feeling pity
“This is the end of it…” she said to herself, and decided to give up
on the “stupid task” of “trying” to get lean.
The next day, she was back in the gym, working out with all her might and determination. The diet charts, although glued and taped to keep in one piece, were back on the bulletin board.
Discouragement from oneself is one of the most acute psychological ailments of the modern times, which has taken its hold into the minds of ninety percent of the population.
It is the constant nagging voice in your head which attempts to limit every advances that you attempt in order to take your life to the next level.
Discouraging thoughts are not bound to one’s age. It affects the adolescents the same as it influences the people in the dusk of their lives.
It is also not limited to one’s status or level of achievement.
A struggling artist experiences deterring thoughts about his work when he is about to open his own art gallery, while an experienced composer faces the same thoughts and emotions when he releases his new album.
Everybody faces a certain degree of discouraging thoughts at certain periods. One must never let these thoughts dominate one’s psyche and prevent one from going after what it is one really wants.
Let us begin with the formal definition of the word.
Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘Discouragement’ as the following:
“The act of making something less likely to happen or of making people less likely to do something.”
Pretty good definition there, in my opinion.
The Oxford Dictionary defines it the best:
“An attempt to prevent something by showing disapproval or creating difficulties”
Focus on the terms- ‘showing disapproval’ and ‘creating difficulties.’
It really is the crux of the discouragement- creating difficulties to prevent a person from executing his determined course of action.
Putting it in layman’s terms, what discouragement really is- is convincing somebody not to do something by rebuke or force.
This is exactly what you do to yourself- you rebuke yourself into not
doing something that you should be doing or really want to do.
CAUSES OF DISCOURAGEMENT
Let us first investigate the causes which lead to the discouragement of an individual.
The absolute master entity which has the ability to discourage one the most is fear.
Fear has various forms in which it rears it’s ugly head- fear of being judged and criticized, fear of the unknown, fear of the new responsibilities, and the grand daddy of them all- fear of failure.
Fear has a way of getting under your skin.
You tend to imagine all kinds of horrible ways that you are going to mess up or screw up the situation, which rationally don’t even come close to the reality.
That’s the funny thing about it.
Although the things that go through your mind feel real and extremely haunting, ninety nine percent of the time, those things don’t happen at all.
A wise sage once said :
“I have had many problems in my life…most of which never occurred.”
That really sums up the tricks that our mind plays on us. Most of what you fear, won’t happen in reality.Ever.
Failure in itself is one of the events that onset discouragement in an
When you work day in and day out to meet a particular goal of yours, but all you face is failure, then it’s quite obvious to get a little
disappointed and discouraged.
You lose motivation and drive to continue to your goal.
As much as failure has got a bad reputation, it makes us realize a fact that we often ignore in pursuit of our dreams – It’s not as easy as it seemed.
And most people when figure out that the task they set out for is not as straightforward to accomplish as they thought it would be, they prefer to back off from it. They give up.
Their mantra is this- Do it until it becomes uncomfortable.
Bad news to all of them- anything worth doing in life won’t be easy.
If you didn’t estimate in your plan to fall on your face a few times, then you aren’t good at planning.
A good player expects to get knocked down a couple of times in the battle, and prepares his strategy to get back up.
This is where the winners are separated from losers- winners stay a round longer in the game, while losers submit to their defeat.
Choose your side.
Frustration is caused when a person is obstructed from reaching his desired goal due to obstacles present, either external or internal.
Picture this- You have ambitious goals, and dreams, and you want to achieve them too. Let us also assume that you aspire to be an entrepreneur when you grow up. Make the world a better place by providing a useful service, you know.
There is just one problem-you are dyslexic.
Your inability to read and write like a normal average being will greatly impede your chances of being a successful entrepreneur.
Here comes the frustration.
You really want to be a business tycoon , but can’t because of lack of skills or the disability.
This leads to frustration.
I mean, being an entrepreneur is hard in itself, but being a dyslexic and wanting to be a successful entrepreneur, is like playing the boss level throughout the entire game.
And the final cause of discouragement is-
People often lose the willingness to chase their dreams and ambitions by shaming themselves.
What do I mean when I say ‘shaming themselves’? How do you even shame yourself?
You shame yourself when you tell yourself “I am not enough…”
Any reason that you give along the lines of “I am not… enough …” is actually shaming yourself.
Here are examples to show you what I mean:
•I am not smart enough to run a successful business
• I am not attractive enough to have that boy/girl
• I am not good enough a person
• I am not responsible enough to compete for that position
• I am not hard-working enough to be a writer
• I am not decisive enough to be a leader
• I am not capable enough
• I am not *insert anything here* enough
Shaming is extremely pervasive and reinforces your identity as the person you declare yourself to be.This is the reason that negative self-talk should be avoided at all costs.
With the causes out of the way, let us now discover the way to break free of the shackles of discouragement, once and for all.
When I was researching on the internet on the issue of discouragement from oneself and self-doubt, and actual steps one could take in order to overcome them, all I got was vague answers and ridiculously ineffective ways of dealing with it, like ‘meditate’ and ‘workout’ or ‘think about your successes’.
What a load of crap, to be honest.
I mean, nothing wrong about those practices, but they are missing a crucial point- you cannot win over issues like discouragement and self-doubt in your mind…and these people give you “8 tips to overcome discouragement”.
The title of this post is very ironic because the truth of the matter is that you can never really banish discouraging thoughts or self-doubt.
One tip, not one hundred: Let The Gremlins Be
The most effective and the only way you can win in this situation, is by acting in spite of all the admonishments from your mind.
Advancing towards your dreams, no matter how doubtful or skeptical you are about the situation, is the only plan that’s really going to work.
We also have a specific term for it- Courage.
Courage is the only antidote to the gremlins of discouragement and self-doubt in your mind.
When we hear the term ‘Courage’, we often imagine pulling jaw dropping stunts, and other acts of bravery.
That is a misinterpretation of the word, actually. When you look into the etymology, the word ‘Courage’ comes from the Latin word ‘Cour‘ which translates into ‘heart.‘
Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony , pain , danger , uncertainty, or intimidation.
It is not something that you require in a battlefield, it is required everyday.
If you wish to win in life, you must show courage.
When I walked on the stage to host the annual fiesta, instead of running to the exit door, I exhibited courage.
When Maya introduced herself to the guy she liked, she showed courage.
When Sumit began making plan for his next venture, even when every voice in his head told him otherwise, he showed courage.
When Kajal went back to the gym, even in the state of total despair, and picked back up all the nutrition and diet charts and journals, determined to handle that part of her life, she exhibited tremendous amount of courage.
When you act despite the discouragement from yourself, you become courageous.
When you become courageous,you liberate yourself from the limits being imposed upon you, by yourself.
You stop being a victim and start being powerful.
You realize that you are unstoppable, unbreakable even by yourself.
“Courage is grace under pressure.”
I say it again because it’s so important that you understand it- you cannot overcome self-doubt in your mind by counter thinking.
You will only make the condition worse by trying to get rid of it, by speculating it in your mind, because the more you try to quiet them,the louder the voices become.
The voices never really go away. They stay. The trick is to let them be and act. Let those hideous gremlins be. Let them rebuke you.
The next time you advance towards your desired objective and your mind begins ranting at you, you act.
Observe your mind when it screams-“You can’t do that because…”,” and do that.
You move towards the event that instills anxiousness, fear, apprehension and uneasiness within you.
If it stirs up emotions in you, then you are heading in the right territory.
No I don’t want you to look back into your life and think about all the success that you may have achieved.
Don’t keep a fuckin success journal.
Don’t get down on yourself.
Don’t involve yourself in any of those bullshit activities.
And yes, I do understand that you are frustrated and don’t want to continue anymore.
I see that you have failed up until now, and cannot do it.
And I also know that you are not good enough.
Still you got to stand up and face the situation.
You just can’t use your excuses ( which lack pillars to stand on ) as a cop-out.You must learn to overcome them.
It is by acting despite all the discouragement, that you are actually going to overcome it.
Remember I told you to picture yourself as a guy suffering from dyslexia?
Well, most people would have not dared to even imagine pursuing their entrepreneurial goals, let alone achieving them.
They would have given up on their ‘wishful thinking’ as soon as the thought had entered in their minds, but not this guy.
This guy was adamant enough to chase his goals, and hunt them down.
He would have listened to his discouraging thoughts, or would have given in to the mockery of the people around him.
But he didn’t. He decided to do otherwise. He decided to eat his discouraging thoughts for breakfast.
To overcome the problems he faced due to dyslexia, he taught himself to learn things by heart, and developed a very good memory.
He also started his first business venture in the form of a magazine called,”student“, merely at the age of sixteen, and now controls 400 companies, having net worth of over $5 billion!
People often get surprised when I tell them that the guy I am talking about is none other than the founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson.
In his sweet little book of wisdom and experiences, Sir Branson shares a powerful insight:
“The best lesson I learned was to just do it. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how hard it might seem…”
Instead of becoming discouraged or doubting himself, Branson always said to himself- “Screw it,let’s do it.“
That’s the phrase you must learn to use more often.
Of course there will be more challenges and obstacles to overcome, but that’s what happens when you step into the uncharted territory.
So the next time your discouraging thoughts begin to haunt the shit out of you, just say to yourself:
“Screw it,let’s do it…” and then act.
If what you are doing doesn’t seems to get you to your goals,change the plans.Deviate from the current course of action,but keep going.
BOTTOM LINE IS…
Your mind won’t stop the chatter.It’s next to impossible to try and cease the incessant discouragement you get from yourself.
In this instance you have to follow Nike’s advice and just do it.
Don’t doubt yourself, for once, because even you don’t have any idea yourself what you are actually capable of.
Take the leap of faith, and just do it.
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Until Next Time,