12 Rules For Dealing With Disappointment

I’ve wanted to write about how to deal with disappointment for a while. Today, I have a good reason to actually do it.

We just had a very disappointing election in the United States. *Even if your candidate won, you have to admit that the campaign and process was full of disappointments. There are a lot of adjectives to describe how you may be feeling, and how I’m feeling. I’m not going to list them. You know how you feel.

So, now what?

Most importantly, remember that progress rarely happens in a straight line, and anyone who is constantly striving for progress will inevitably face disappointment. That goes for you experimenters who are always pushing yourself to be better, too.

You will have setbacks. You will face disappointment. The harder you push toward your potential, the more likely you are to run into disappointments along the way. It’s part of the process. And what you do about disappointment will determine your fate.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass, August 3, 1857

(Side note, if you’ve never read the speech this quote is taken from, you absolutely should. It is especially stirring and timely right now.)

OK, ready? This is how to deal with disappointment, in 12 simple rules.

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The Man In The Arena

A few friends and I had a great adventure this weekend. We tried to climb a mountain.

We drove for too many hours, slept far too few, got lost and exhausted and more than a little beaten up for our efforts. We started before the sun came up, and finished long after it set.

Ultimately, none of us made it to the summit.

I was disappointed as the realization set in that we wouldn’t reach our goal. I don’t like failing, even though I know it’s a part of life and growth, and is a crucial step to learning anything.

I was bummed we didn’t make it to the top. But it helps to be in an incredibly beautiful place, because my disappointment turned to gratitude as I had some time to sit by this lake and reflect on my experience. Honestly, look at this place–it doesn’t even look real.

Split Mountain

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