Discouragement is a Thief!

It’s a thief capable of robbing you of your future. It doesn’t ask for an invitation and will show up at the most inopportune times.

It can rob you of your peace of mind, your health, your enthusiasm and your ambition. It can come without warning and make itself an unwanted companion. What is it?

Discouragement! It takes root when a relationship, project, job, new challenge or experience doesn’t work out. But what is discouragement?

“Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future.  It is the result of blindness.  It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding the strength for tomorrow.” 

— Matt Slick

  1. Discouragement is normal.  Everyone experiences it.
  2. Don’t run from it.  Lean into it knowing “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
  3. It is temporary!  It always passes.  High achievers acknowledge discouragement, frame it as disappointment and quickly move on.

Achievers consistently demonstrate a mental toughness that does not allow discouragement to rob them of their enthusiasm and passion.  James Loehr in “Toughness Training for Life” describes it well,

“Crisis and adversity are deeply woven into the fabric of human existence…Train every day to get as tough as possible…Exercise consistent discipline in all areas of life in order to be prepared for the inevitable emotional hit.”

If you were told no 27 times and rejected at every turn, would you be discouraged?

Most people would have been discouraged and quit long before the 27th rejection. Not Theodor Geisel. If Theodor Geisel would have quit writing we would have never experienced the genius of Dr. Suess.

Geisel’s proposal for “And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” was rejected 27 times before it was published.  Dr. Suess wrote 60 books many of which you can name and maybe even recite.

Beyond books, Geisel wrote 11 television specials, three feature films, a Broadway musical and won an Academy Award for a documentary feature.

Don’t let discouragement rob you of your future.  Set discouragement aside with these five strategies:

  1. Choose well!
    • Choose a positive self-expectant attitude.  The greatest choice you make ever day is your choice of attitude.  Discouragement cannot take hold of you when you maintain a positive self-expectant attitude.
    • Choose your inputs intentionally.  Turn off , block out, and get rid of whatever is negative or distracts you from your most important roles and goals.
    • Choose to surround yourself with and seek out people who encourage and support you.
  2. Increase your energy and reduce fatigue.
    • Eat better.  Diet is essential to energy and focus.  Refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol negatively impact energy and focus.
    • Exercise regularly.  If you are off your routine, get back to it.  If don’s exercise get started with 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 20 minutes a day.
    • Sleep more.  Less than 10% of us can function at peak levels on less than eight hours of sleep.  Get at least eight hours of sleep.
  3. Focus on your priorities.
    • Take time for solitude and prayer.  When facing adversity clarity of thought is essential.
    • Review your goals and plans.  Focus on your next steps.  Get specific so you can act on them.
  4. Seek out your coaches and mentors.  Review your new plan and priorities and adjust as needed.
  5. Simplify.  You can’t do everything but you are going to do something.  Keep it simple.

“Pray as though everything depended on God.  Work as though everything depended on you.”

-St. Augustine

Question: What are your strategies for overcoming discouragement? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Discouragement is a Thief!

  1. Jim,

    This sounds just like you. I have never forgotten the conversations we had. You always did inspire people to do their best and how to find that “PASSION”
    Thank you for all your inspiring talks!

  2. Jim, I once told someone that if you were running up the mountain I would run up behind you! This is why, you remain an inspiration to the many lives you have and will continue to touch in this phase of your life. Thank you for always providing such encouragement!


    • Nancy, thank you! I am blessed by your encouragement and hope you will will find places to share this site and the posts with others. More good stuff to come in 2014!