When you’re discouraged, you lose interest for what usually motivates you. Suddenly, all of the passion that once pushed you to daily action is now gone, and it feels as if life has tossed a bucket of water on the once burning flames of your enthusiasm. The spark has left your eyes, and you are now lifeless and empty.
This is discouragement. It’s the loss of confidence and enthusiasm for attacking life. It can be severe, or it can be minor, but the longer you allow it to abide in you the harder it is to uproot.
Discouragement can come when you’ve made several attempts at conquering a habit, or accomplishing a goal, and you quit doing the daily disciplines required to achieve it. You say to yourself, “This is too hard. I’ll never be able to keep this up everyday. I’m just too damn lazy. I’m not like those people that always seem to get what they want.”
You Ain’t Special!
Notice what just happened, or I should say, notice what didn’t happen. What didn’t happen was nobody put a gun to your head and said, “Get off the treadmill. You can’t lose weight.” Nobody forced you to stop working hard on whatever it is you need to do on a daily basis to achieve your goals. You talked yourself out of it.
You convinced yourself to quit. You were the one that came up with all the elaborate excuses for why it won’t ever work for you. Somehow you’re just this freak of nature—the only one in history that can’t conjure up any self-discipline.
You are not unique. You are not different. Those are only excuses to justify your refusal to work. You’re being driven by humanity’s strongest motive: self-preservation. You’ll do anything you have to in order to cover yourself, but at least we finally found some motivation in you! You’re highly motivated to come up with a host of reasons why you can’t do anything consistently.
Supported by Confidence
There is an antidote to discouragement. There is a way to build yourself back up to the place where you can once again take charge of your life and develop the discipline you desperately need to conquer your daily grind. The antidote is encouragement.
What is encouragement? It’s when you’re “supported by confidence.”
Discouragement is rooted in a lack of assurance, or confidence, in yourself. You want to be self-disciplined, but you’re not confident that you can keep it up for the long haul. However, discouragement doesn’t come all at once. It seeps into your mind slowly by the small defeats that add up to a big failure and your decision to quit.
That’s really all it is, but once it’s full grown, discouragement can take ownership of you and coerce you into stopping the very disciplines that would change your life for the better. Discouragement is stealing from you. It’s neutralizing you. And you just sit there and take it.
You need support. You need the confidence boosters that keep you doing what you need to be doing in order to maintain your enthusiasm. What is enthusiasm?
Enthusiasm is the intense enjoyment of what you have to do.
When you’re discouraged, you lack enthusiasm, so you don’t find any interest or enjoyment in much of anything. You’re just biding your time—waiting for something, or someone, to come along and reignite your passion. In fact, you can’t even comprehend what once drove you before.
This is what you’ve got to get back, but you’ll never get there without the support of confidence, and that’s what we call encouragement. Where do we get encouragement?
- You encourage yourself with perspective. You do this by keeping your mind on the big picture of what it is you’re after. This dwarfs the details that bog you down.
- You encourage yourself by getting with encouragers—people that will remind you of the big picture and tell you that you can do it.
- You encourage yourself with little victories. It’s the little defeats that add up to cause discouragement, so it’s the little victories that bring you back. Set some smaller goals that you can more easily achieve.
- You encourage yourself with reasons. Constantly go over in your mind WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. Reasons creates causes which creates incentive to act.
Discouragement is a feeling that produces defeating images in your mind, and it’s difficult not to entertain them. However, just by reading this article, you’ve probably already got some motivation going—at least enough to cover you for today. Just keep it up. Find the encouragement each day and that will cook up your enthusiasm. You are not out of this battle yet, but you will win it. Don’t quit.