Jim Aitkins is an American writer and speaker whose observations about everyday life provide powerful lessons for personal growth. He believes that outlook and a little preparation can help us to overcome disappointment
Various disappointments sometimes inspire people to do crazy things. Take sports, as an example. The outcome of a hard-fought game always involves someone being disappointed; and not only the players. We have all seen fans get angry when their team loses, onoccasion proceeding to burn cars, loot businesses and worse.
Let’s forget that some fans also do those things when they are extremely happy. Personally, I do not understand the logic. At a sporting event if our team wins, I don’t imagine ever turning to my wife and saying, “I’m so happy, I could ransack a convenience store!”
Extreme emotions inspire extreme reactions, but since disappointment too often leads to more negativity and unhappiness than elation, I want to tell you how I prevent a state of disappointment from lingering too long in my mind.
It is all about belief. What you believe about the event is generally what will determine how disappointed you will be if the situation does not end the way you hope it will. That is obvious to most of us, but what is less so is the fact that we can control what we believe and we can, therefore, reduce the level of disappointment that we experience in life.
One way that we can reduce the gloomy burden that very often accompanies disappointment is by consciously deciding, in advance of the event, how you will think.
Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But think about it: how often do you actually decide how you will think? Isn’t it true that, more often than not, you allow the event itself to decide for you how you will think about it?
And that’s usually fine when it comes to awesome outcomes, but what about less-than-favorable outcomes? That is when it becomes extremely important to know, in advance, that you can direct your thoughts, and to know exactly where to take them
So, let’s talk about where to take your thoughts when you do not get the outcome that you were hoping for. Three things can help you to shape what you believe about an event.
Be fiercely determined that you will …
1) Quickly adapt to the new reality that this development presents. Do not allow yourself to create a list of ‘I should-haves’ or regrets.
2) Immediately smile. This requires some discipline, but it has been scientifically proven that doing things like smiling and physically looking up can very quickly begin to change both our mental and emotional state of mind for the better.
3) Identify benefits. Be determined to see at least three concrete beneficial aspects of the event that would not have otherwise been realised had not the disappointing outcome occurred.
At the end of the day though, the key factor when it comes to defeating disappointment is what you really, deeply believe.
Belief is the highly combustible fuel that will provide explosive power to the above technique. If you believe you were made to be an overcomer, you will be one. If you believe that your faith and creativity will eventually transport you from the circumstances you currently see, toward the better situation that you don’t yet see, then it will. To get there, you just have to know how to effectively deal with and ultimately defeat disappointment.
Disappointment is visited upon each and everyone of us. There is no avoiding it. So, when it comes knocking – as it inevitably will – how do we defeat it, so that we can keep moving forward? By creatively using our thoughts – inspired by our strong beliefs – to rise above it, we can turn a negative into a positive experience.