The Duplicity of Disappointment


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Can you recall your last disappointment? Surely you won’t have to think too long? As a matter of fact, by the time you are reading this post, I am willing to bet that you have already experienced some level of disappointment on this very day!

The thing is, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. I have never been able to understand why we allow disappointment to define our lives. We are human beings imperfect at the core of our inner most selves. We make mistakes, we let others down, we don’t always hold up our ends of the deal. But here’s the thing (and one that we often forget), disappointment can serve as the foundation for our character development.

Let’s consider this from another point of view. Let’s discuss the topic of core convictions. In reality, our core convictions will become clear in extreme circumstances good or bad. If we experience great success at some point in life, we can assign a certain set of beliefs to that end result. On the other hand, if we experience persecution, we can identify a certain set of behaviors that led that result as well. Our core convictions will come out in both good times and bad. It is important that we become aware in these moments what matters most to us. Core convictions will be the catalyst for the way in which we handle disappointment.

Disappointment can stop my dead in my tracks if I give it the power to do so. If I chase a dream and commit myself to a successful outcome but everything does not go according to plan, I will experience some level of disappointment. I would say that in his quest to produce electricity Thomas Edison may have felt a bit of disappointment. Thankfully Edison possessed the foresight to acknowledge that failure was part of the process. When interviewed after the successful invention of the light bulb, Edison responded with what is now his most famous quote:  “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.” This is a prime example of a man allowing his disappointment along a tedious journey to develop him rather than define him.

Disappointment most certainly carries the potential to destroy your progress. On the other hand it has the amazing tendency to develop marginal ability into brilliant innovation. The next time you experience disappointment, ask yourself “will this stop me dead in my tracks or can I use it to learn without turning back?”