Mike Rowe is not Discouraged by Discouragement

From the MRW Water Cooler:

Q: On those long exhausting days where nothing seems to go right, what do you do to keep from being discouraged?Jessica


Hi Jessica

“Discouraged” is an interesting word. Literally, it implies the absence of “courage.” I don’t have any advice on how to be courageous. You either are or you aren’t. The only thing I know for sure is that it’s scary to be brave, as it should be. And if the situation in question isn’t frightening, courage is not required. Feeling discouraged though, is not just feeling cowardly. It’s also a loss of enthusiasm, which leaves us feeling empty and futile.

Personally, I don’t try too hard to avoid becoming discouraged. I’ve found it useful over the years, and when it happens, I try to understand why I’m feeling it. Am I wasting my time on a project or situation that isn’t worth my time? Is my brain trying to have a chat with my ego? Or am I just feeling sorry for myself? These questions matter, because becoming discouraged is an important precursor of quitting, and in spite of all the platitudes about Determination and Perseverance, quitting is sometimes the best course of action. Yes, I understand that most successful and happy people have found a way to overcome feelings of discouragement. But it is equally true that many miserable b@stards have ignored a long litany of “discouragements” along the way, and as a result, spent a lifetime pushing the same rock up the same hill.

Don’t misunderstand – there is nothing wrong with rock pushing, especially if you’re happy pushing rocks. I push a few of my own, and I like it. But discouragement and drudgery have less to do with what you’re doing and more to do with whether or not you’re engaged in your own life. Discouragement is a symptom, and symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, especially chronic ones. We’re so wired to avoid failure, and so afraid of feeling bad, that we often panic at the first sign of either. In other words, discouragement is not always something to deny. It’s sometimes a thing to heed. Or even encourage.


PS. Johnny Hartman helps.


3 thoughts on “Mike Rowe is not Discouraged by Discouragement

  1. Mike, I have learned that respecting one’s self and knowing when to say when is an invaluable lesson. Joining a new team can be a leap of faith and whether you fail or succeed does not matter. Underestimating the lesson learned along the way, does. You’ll never know unless you try. Shannon

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