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Discipline Your Disappointments

My girlfriend came over one night and we chilled out on the porch enjoying fire and mellow tunes.  Letting each other listen to music we wanted to share with each other, she threw in a short ‘Jim Rohn’ talk entitled “Disciplining Your Disappointments.”  In this specific segment the whole gist of his message was that life will throw you hurdles after hurdles and that nothing would change that one true fact about life.  One of the things though he kept reiterating was the question of “WHY?”  He explained that we tend to want to fall into the unknown “WHY?” of things that fail to go as we planned or wished for regardless of our continuous efforts.

Why would this happen when I made sure of that?  Why would that happen if I did this?  Why would this seed not grow after I made sure to water it properly?  Why, why, why? The “WHYs” are endless if you choose to focus on them, nit-picking every obstacle that you are faced with in whatever endeavor you are in.  He said, “Don’t register for that class.”  Life is what it is and whatever you do you will not escape the complications that come along with how this universe of ours works.  So I thought to myself, I should jot down how I plan on manifesting this newfound advice for my own self.  Who knows—it just might work for you, too.

First of all, if AWiB has taught us anything, it is to persevere in the face of all the hindrances that are thrown our way if we truly want to achieve whatever it is we are striving towards be it our careers, our health, our relationships, our personal development, whatever the case may be.  So I had to think of how Jim phrased it, “Disciplining Your Disappointments.”  When I sat with myself to reflect on what I believed to be my disappointments, the one thing I realized I failed to do, or better yet, failed to accept of myself, was my understanding of what my disappointments truly were.  I was shocked to find that most of them were really just stepping-stones to either bettering myself, redirecting my path correctly, or incidents allowing me to let go of what I’d like to call ‘my life’s unnecessary-ies;’ the so many unnecessary habits, materialistic obsessions, addictions, people, etc….


The first step is to acknowledge the disappointment you are feeling.  Make a conscious decision to see it for what it is.  What do you really feel disappointed for exactly?  Not the general off-the-top unhappiness with your situation not going as hoped for, but what is the underlying reason for the disappointment?  Whether it is anger, pain, hurt, rejection, feeling of failure, resentment; just acknowledge the feeling as what it is.  Don’t internalize it too much to where you get so carried away that you are breathing life into the feeling.  That will only lead to it consuming you and it continuing to hinder you in whatever it is you are doing.


Secondly, you have to find it within yourself to accept your disappointment.  Be kind to yourself and allow your disappointment to guide you – not misdirect you.  Remember the promise you made to yourself to achieve your goal.  And above all remember what is in your control and what is not.  One of the biggest mistakes we make is to think we can control everything.  Know that you can’t, and know that you are not supposed to.  You are only supposed to control how you react to what comes that was out of your control.  My mother always says, “Look for the opportunity, not at the problem.”  Trust me, if you keep staring at the problem, you will only continue to make it a problem.  We don’t want that, now do we?  Nope.


Thirdly, you have to agree with your disappointment.  Remind yourself that you are human after all and mistakes will be made on your part, and many mistakes will be done unto you.  Agree with yourself in the context of understanding where the disappointment is rooted.  Agree with yourself that you will try to dodge that bullet if the smoking gun was ever pointed your way once again.  Agree with your inner voice, “I don’t ever want to feel this way again.”  And most importantly, agree with the reality of the fact that this is just one disappointment of the many to come.  That’s just how life works; there’s no way around it.

Respect & Release

Finally, I think it’s all about respecting your disappointment for what it is.  In other words, respect yourself for experiencing this disappointment of yours.  Then release it.  Let go of the gravitational force towards the wallowing in despair of your disappointment.  It can be easy to get stuck on looking for an external blaming factor.  It can be easy to get stuck on the “WHY?” factor.  Don’t—just let it be and move on.

I don’t even know where I could begin to list all of my disappointments.  There’s no need to now.  Now I’m trying to work on disciplining my disappointments:

  • Presently being aware of when they occur and acknowledging them
  • Accepting my failures and the anguish that comes along
  • Talking myself into agreeing with my situation when it happens
  • Patting myself in respect of my journey
  • And then I just release the damn thing

Be careful of what you let linger within you in the midst of your journey.  Disappointments are bound to happen—they’re supposed to—to test your true resilience in the face of life.  It’s like Jim Rohn said, “The only ones who succeed are the ones who remain in the field.”  You have to keep at it, taking all the disappointments along the way as part of the process, and as part of the beautiful mystery of life.  Don’t ask, “WHY?” No need to.  It just is that way.  Learn to discipline your disappointments.

Written by: Marthe Nzokou Giday