We have all been there. We are traveling down the pathway to achievement of our goals and for whatever reason, we suddenly hit a wall. Hitting the wall is not the issue, it is that we have hit this same wall about sixty times already. We want to achieve our goals, however, we are tired, discouraged and really sick of this wall!
Thomas Edison said, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." But you say, "I have tried again, and again and again." Discouragement is a powerful enemy that, once it gets a hold of our minds, never gives up.
I would like to share with you ten things you can do to overcome discouragement and move forward in the victory you desire. By following these ten simple steps, every day, you will strengthen your drive for success and end up the better for the battle.
#1 Know What You Want
This may seem like an odd point, however, many people have no idea what they really want in life. They may say that they have an idea or what they wish they had, but they cannot nail down exactly what they want. The truth is, unless you know what you want, you will never get it. Or in the words of the great Yogi Berra, "If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?"
One of the most common questions I am asked when I am speaking to a group is, "How do I know what I am meant to do in life?" My answer is always the same: "What do you want to do?" You see, your purpose or dream in life will not be something you do not want to do. It is always that thing that has been in your heart for ages. You may have pushed it aside because you thought it impossible, but that is the sign it is real. If a dream is not impossible to achieve; it is just too small.
Take the time to clearly define what you want to do. How does it look and feel? What will it be like when you achieve it? Remember that your goal is always something that benefits not only you but others as well.
#2 Know Why You Want It
People often make the mistake of trying to know how to do something before they know why they are doing it. That is backwards. Once you have decided what your goal in life is, you must then discover why you need to achieve it. Here is a tip: it is never for money, fame, power or revenge. None of these things are goals and all will cause hurt and defeat if they are what you pursue.
Ask yourself, how will this make me feel? What will I achieve in the process? Who will I become as a person when I achieve this goal? These questions will help you to discover the right motivators behind your goals and will move you forward faster than anything else.
#3 Write Things Down
Anyone who has spent any time studying goal setting know that one of the key rules is to write your goals down. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Success-minded people know that you cannot effectively follow your goals unless they are clearly written out in detail.
Many will say, "I have them all in my head." That, my friends, is the worst place to keep them. Goals can only be successfully followed when they are consistent. In your mind they will change from day to day, you will forget things, add things and change your mind because of how you feel at any given moment. Think of it this way, it is like going on a trip and following a map, however, each time you look at the map the dot where your destination is has moved. You will never get there.
When we write down our goals we make them firm and give them substance. They are only ideas and wishes till we write them down and give them life. Once a goal is in writing you know where you are going at all times. It will not change nor will it fall by the way side. Written goals are a clear road map to success.
#4 Learn From Both Success and Failure
Success-minded people learn that both success and failure can be a blessing and a curse. Success can make us complacent and cause us to slow down; resting on our achievements. Failure can make us discouraged, fearful and cause us to give up. Success can also motivate us, inspire and drive us to even greater things. Failure too can cause us to become more determine and make us push on till we find the answers we seek. So, what is the difference maker in these two states that determine if they help or hurt us? It is the act of learning.
It is when we have decided to learn from every experience, both good and bad, that we can always move forward no matter if we have succeeded or failed in of efforts. The great inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison was well known to record not only his many successes but also his many, many failures. Edison knew that there was a reason why something did not work and if he understood those reasons he would not make the same mistake twice. Besides, he would also learn how these failures could be successes in another area of interest.
On your journey to achievement always have a notebook handy to record your results. Learn from the successes and from the failures and you will always turn your failures into successes. Success-minded people know that nothing in life is ever wasted if you can learn from it. The greatest education you will ever get is that of experience.
#5 Track Your Progress / Not Your Failures
Where we can always learn from our failures, they are not the thing we measure success by. When things are difficult and we want to give up, one way to defeat discouragement is to look at past success and know that we can do it again.
Success-minded people know that success leaves clues. Not just the success of others but also our own. Each time you succeed it is because you did things that caused success. Think about just what those things were and record them. Keep a running record of all successes so that when you are faced with a difficult challenge you can see just how you did it before.
#6 Never See Success as the End of the Journey
The completion of a goal is never the end of the journey. Success-minded people need to understand that it is the process of achieving a goal that give us excitement and drive, not the achievement itself. I have seen too many people who worked hard to achieve their dreams only to lose it all because they stopped working at it. Success is never stagnate. It has to keep growing in order to be maintained. That is why you need a plan for when you achieve as well as for when you don't.
Do you have a goal waiting in the wings for the time when you achieve the one you are after now? What will you do once you see the success you seek today? The best way to never get discouraged or to give up is to have a new goal or new dream that you will move into right away. The best way to reward yourself for achieving a goal is to set a new one immediately.
When I finish a book and send the last draft off to the publisher I always celebrate by starting the next one. The reason for this is simple. I am just like 90% of other writers who once they stop to rest, they never start again. The world is full of people who achieved a goal and decided to reward themselves by "taking a break". The problem is, most do not recover from that break and therefore never achieve anything more. Simple law of nature: when something stops growing, it dies.
#7 Avoid Negative People
It true! There are vampires out there and they are looking for you! They can be your co-workers, store clerks, passersby or even in your own family. We of course do not call them vampires, however, do not doubt that they will suck the live out of you faster than you can notice it happening. These are the negative people in our lives.
I know it sounds hard to call these people vampires. Some are people we love and care about. You must understand that there is no greater enemy to the success-minded person than the influence of negative people in our life. They will steal our dreams, defeat of efforts and destroy our desire to succeed. Some even do it out of love, but is still harmful all the same.
You cannot always remove the negative people from our lives but we can control the influence they have on us. If someone is known for cutting down your dreams the best way to handle it is not telling them your dreams in the first place. Be wise on who you seek for advice and direction. Just because you are thirsty you would not drink from a bottle of poison would you? So do not give a negative person the power in your life that will destroy you and your goals.
#8 Find Encouragement
If you do not tell the negative people in your life your dreams, who do you tell? You want wise and solid counsel, not just someone who will tell you what you want to hear, right? Seek out positive, success-minded people who care about your success. They will be the ones who will encourage you and still tell you if you are heading in the wrong direction. They are the ones who build you up and help you to understand that you can succeed. Remember the great words of author Mark twain who said, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that but the really great make you feel that you too can become great."
Positive people are a great value in our lives. Their encouragement and inspiration will move us forward during the time when we feel like giving up. They will always be honest with us and yet they will never deny our goals or belittle our dreams. They may not always understand why we are pursuing the dreams we have chosen, but they always respect the fact that our dreams are ours to choose and ours alone.
#9 Have Determination
The most powerful and sure way to keep from giving up is simply not to. I know that sounds simplistic and even dumb to say, however, it is the simplest truth and, as we see in Occam's Razor: "If you have two equally likely solutions to a problem, choose the simplest." In short, the simple answer is the best. Can you think of a way to not giving up that is more simple than, just don't do it?
The great thing about determination is that you do not have to keep making a decision as to what you will do. The decision is made once and you only have to follow it. What happens when things fall apart? You keep on going. What happens when I keep failing at what I do? You keep on going. What happens when it seems no hope is in sight? You keep on going. To quite is never an option. To give up is not on the table for discussion - no matter what you think or feel.
Success-minded people must understand that giving up is to lose it all. It is a matter of survival, not just feeling better. During England's darkest days during World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew that to give up or to surrender was not going to stop their destruction but in fact cause it. His words must be noted by every success-minded person who has ever felt like giving up on their dream. "Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be;" Churchill said. "for without victory, there is no survival."
#10 Take Action / Keep Moving
Nothing happens without action! That is a fact. This you can take to the bank - and if you take action you will get to go to the bank. No matter what your dream is or how impossible your goals, if you do not take action you will never achieve them. If you do take action, you are on your way to success and there is little to stop you.
The best way to not give up is to not stop long enough to think about it. There is always some action that you can take at any time. The great thing about taking action is that it works if the action is small or big. I will say, if you want massive results you will have to take massive action, however, if you can only take small steps you will still move forward.
Action causes forward movement and as long as you are moving forward you are fulfilling your goals. Don't stop, don't think that you can rest a bit and then start again. Remember, those who stop to rest do not start up again. You lose momentum when you stop. Keep moving and you will find that you never lose ground and you always achieve the goal in the end.