“The Key to How to Handle Disappointment” written by Bren Koger.
What is the most resilient parasite? A bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm?
Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood. That sticks, right in there somewhere.
This is a line from the movie “Inception” spoken by Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb. I happened to see this scene at the cardio theater of my gym and was struck by how similar it is to what Napoleon Hill calls Definiteness of Purpose in his classic book on self-development “Think and Grow Rich.”
Napoleon Hill’s Definiteness of Purpose
When you have definiteness of purpose it means that you know precisely what you want, (you have an idea) why you want it and how you are going to achieve it and commit yourself 100% to the process. (It’s taken hold of your brain and is impossible to eradicate)
Once it takes hold it’s almost impossible to eradicate.
Do you have an idea or a goal for your life that is stuck in your head?
It feels like no matter what, it’s impossible to eradicate?
Maybe you dream of becoming a famous author or owning a horse or maybe you want to travel to another country.
For me, when I was a little girl my dream was to go to Ireland. I thought about it every day. I dreamt about it. I was fascinated with the country for as long as I can remember and felt compelled to get there. I would study pictures and read books and listen to Irish music every chance I got. I loved the Irish lilt, the scenery; It just seemed so magical and I would not rest until I got to go there.
I did get to accomplish my goals of visiting Ireland 3 times in my life but didn’t get to go for the first time until I was in my late 20’s. The picture above is from my last trip in 2009.
I had a few disappointments and setbacks on the way to getting there, but the idea of going there was so strong I didn’t let anything or anyone stop me.
The first setback was related to money. It seemed daunting as a child or teenager to come up with enough money and where I would stay? My parents divorced when I was 12 years and I subsequently moved around the country with my mom. My dream was put on the back burner for a few more years more but it never left my head.
After I was married and in my 20’s, I’d saved the money and planned a trip with my husband when my mother -in- law, unfortunately, had a stroke just days before we were about to leave. She recovered quickly with no permanent damage. and I was able to make the trip a few short month later by myself for a long weekend.
Looking back I realize I developed some skills at adapting to disappointments and setbacks that have helped me accomplish other goals in my life. The truth is anything worth having is worth fighting for and sometimes waiting a period of time. If it’s important enough it will stick in your head with such resiliency it will eventually happen.
If you feel like there is something in your life you have been striving for and it’s taking a while and you’ve experienced some setbacks along the way it can seem a little daunting to stay positive.
Tactics on How to Handle Disappointment
Here are a few tactics I’ve learned along the way to help you handle disappointment and forge ahead:
- Loosen up your grip on expectations. We tend to form a mental picture in our head of how we want things to progress.Visualization is necessary for accomplishing our goals. I wouldn’t have accomplished my goal of getting to Ireland if I hadn’t had such a sharp image in my head and used my imagination to keep it alive. Without this imagined idea, I wouldn’t have the resilience needed to accomplish my goal. Be willing to be flexible within that vision. Realize that everything is unfolding exactly as it should and be willing to adjust your vision of the outcome.
- A setback could actually lead to your best outcome. In the case of my trip to Ireland, there was a reason I should wait. It might have saved me from an accident or I may not have had the great experiences that I did had I gone when it was scheduled the first time. Allow for Gods perfect timing. “Sometimes there’s a period that we try to put a question mark on.” Joel Olstein
- Have the feelings you are feeling. Disappointment and even anger are feelings that may come up when you experience a setback. Acknowledge them, take a deep breath and sit with it until it passes. You may need to express your feeling to another person who is positive and encouraging.
- Ask yourself how this serves to open you heart to compassion Everything is can be used for good. Ask what this experience has to teach? and then listen to the answer. “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” Henry David Thoreau
- Know that the dream would not be in your head if there was not a way to accomplish it. “You want what you want because you know it’s possible. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t. This is powerful. Embrace it. For whatever else you believe or don’t believe, this belief alone can take you the distance.” The Universe
Final Words About How to Handle Disappointment
When you’re ready list the positive aspects of what’s happened. They are there when you are ready to see them. It might take some time to see or a few times of going back to the list but eventually you will see in the grand scheme of things everything happens for a reason. Your life is beautifully orchestrated and there are no accidents.
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