Being disappointed at times is inevitable, but to be discouraged is a choice. Do you believe that? I do. If you wish to leave this growth-retarding feeling, read this. This might help you.
“Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.”
― Neal A. Maxwell
There were two men who were both very familiar and experienced in mountain trekking. They agreed to take a trek on a mountain forest well known for having a pond with crystal-like water which, according to the old folks’ testimonies, has the power to heal all kind of diseases but people say it is hard to be found. Its location is somewhere in a still unmarked terrain and only few were able to find it. Driven by their love for sick family members, both were determined and zealous to find the pond at the heart of the forest. Equipped with a compass, map, trekking gear and tools they started their adventure. After few weeks of long, challenging, arduous journey the two still couldn’t locate the pond.
” I can’t make it anymore, I think it’s just a fiction. We’re just wasting our efforts and our time.” says Howard as he was sat on a rock alongside a river. “Look, we’ve been trekking for many years and we’ve been doing this before just for the sake of experience, adventures and love of nature. We’ve been through many dangerous journeys and you didn’t give up during those times but now you seems easily discouraged. Can’t you not persevere for the sake of our loved ones?” says Victor while walking to and fro in front of the seated Howard. Then the latter stood up with a crossed eyebrows and in motioning hands he said, ” If that pond really exists in this mountain forest, based on the length of our trek we should have already found it, but where is it? We’ve been trekking for almost a month now and we still couldn’t find any sign. I’m not gonna continue. I’ll take the shortcut route to a road and go back home. If you want to come with me or continue looking for that fictitious pond, it’s up to you.” Victor replied with a cool, low but firm voice, ” I won’t give up. I believe we’re almost there based on the length of our trekking and if I couldn’t find it after all these efforts, at least I tried.” Then they parted ways. Do you want to know what happened next? Let’s stop from here and let’s talk about the conclusion of their story later…
One day, I was sitting in front of my workshop desk, holding my brush, trying to capture on a canvas the faces of a beautiful family on a photograph. After some brush strokes, I examined the figures on the surface and compared it thoroughly with the picture then suddenly I stopped. “No, this is not how it should be done. This is way off the reference photo.” Disappointed but still my right hand continue moving – blending colors, making different strokes and using various techniques. I looked at my unfinished work with dissatisfaction, I started to sweat, eyebrows crossed. If I could only paint myself on that very moment I would have pinned down a face which is better than any available monster masks to be used to scare a naughty child. I wanted to give up. Could I be able to finish this painting as how it is supposed to be done? Would the finished work be able to satisfy my client? Moments of silence, then a small accusing voice from my left ear was telling me I can’t make it there, I’m not equipped with formal art education, I am just a neophyte, I’m not good. In my mind flashes the images of some awesome paintings of this present time’s great artists that I just saw online, thru social media and other artists sites. Comparing my work to theirs I felt so, so small. On the same day, after visiting some websites I realized that I still have a lot more technicalities and techniques to learn to be able to make my website attractive to visitors but I’m not a computer wizard. I really don’t know how I should lay out everything in its proper places. So as a blogger, I’ve also came to the point of quitting. I realized that the more I submerge myself into social media sharing, the more I started to realize how many other people have greater abilities than I have, how many have the same dreams as myself but unlike me they’re able to excel in it, they’re able to make names and make money.
Have you ever felt the same in your life, that feeling like you are nothing, you are small and insignificant in the grand scheme of our world? The way I felt was like how you may feel when you look up the starry sky in the night or you stand among the mountains, trees, and wide open spaces you begin to gain a perspective of your place on the planet, the feeling that you are merely a speck of dust in the air. This feeling even become deeper when you want to make a mark in this world; through art, through blogs, or through impressions but when all your efforts does not produce the results that you hoped for, you become discouraged and tends to give up your dreams. That happens when discouragement start to peep in, when its hold on you is overwhelming, when it seems too strong to overcome the zealousness you had from the start. That’s what happened to me on that day, and I found myself sobbing, discouraged and thorn between finishing the piece I was painting or just stop and give up.
But a voice from my right ear said ” Why are you so discouraged? Remember what your website is all about? You put it up to encourage, to inspire and to motivate others especially beginners like you, right? Do not compare yourself to the experts, do not expect your works to be like theirs, do not despise your abilities with their abilities. Sure, there will always be another artworks or blogs or websites that has more followers or likes than you, but it doesn’t mean that your work is any less valuable. You have just started your website so expect that some days are better than others. If you lose interest in your work it can be discouraging, but if you keep working at it success will be built.” That voice was like a cold water thrown into the fire that eventually led me to revive my enthusiasm and just took it as one of the learning experiences of my life.
Though these feelings might never really fade at once, but the best I can do is to try to make a difference anyway I can. Many people out there are being discourage, some already gave up and some are still trying to the best of their efforts to continue in their creative journeys though discouragement tries to pull them down. They need people who can relate and understands their predicament. They need people who have gone through the same path but found hope and still moving forward no matter what. They may need an encouragement from me who has been discouraged many times but still fighting.
Now, let’s find out what happened to Howard and Victor after they parted ways. The picture below illustrates the result of two different reactions to challenges and hardship.
Victor was just few meters away from his destination. On the other hand, Howard still needs to travel by feet many kilometers more to reach the road back home. Like Howard, sometimes we tend to give up when our goal is almost reachable. As for me, I was able to finish my art piece, a family portrait and my client was very happy and grateful for it. If I gave up, I wouldn’t see his joy when he saw the finished work. For my website and blogs, I may not still there but I don’t lose hope and I believe that opportunities will knock at my door one day, so I moved on.
Giving up is not the solution. Perseverance must be developed to keep us going despite obstacles along the way. Of course opportunity is one of the keys to succeed but it doesn’t take a lot to make the effort and put yourself out there, you never know who you may reach, you never know the impact and influence you can make by your determination and endurance.
One of the most important lessons that I picked up and absorbed in every negative circumstances in my life is how I can build up people out of my brokenness, how I can share them the pain brought by failures so they can avoid taking the same pathway and if I can make a difference in one person’s life then I have accomplished something amazing, for the glory of God. Be not discouraged. Though discouragement peeps in sometimes but don’t let him in. If God has something to accomplish through you, He will open doors for your success.
2Chronicles 15:7 “ But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”