Overcoming Disappointment

Visionmakers must be on their guard when meeting the challenge of disappointment. Nothing can undermine progress toward a dream faster than those unexpected occurances where our expectations and outcomes do not meet.


Disappointment is a part of every journey of meaning. The average person sees it as a catastrophe. Visionmakers see disappointment as an opportunity to re-calibrate vision. The difference here is that the average person collapses into a state of victimhood; Visionmakers embrace disappointment as an initiation.


Inititiations are high learning experiences. They are seldom fun, especially when they involve disappointment. We must either rise above the gap between our expectations and outcomes or shut down, withdraw and settle for less.


Visionmakers are committed to continuous learning and facing things as they are rather than how they wish they were. Ultimately, we are being shown the weaknesses and defects of our own plans, attachments and philosophies.


Here are ten things we can learn from disappointment:


1. Every journey of meaning is an expedition into unfamiliar territory. Expecting that things will always go smoothly is unrealistic.


2. Surprises, even the unpleasant ones, are opportunities to recommit to our dreams.


3. Betrayal is a self-inflicted. Perhaps we are guilty of refusing to see what is right in front of our eyes. Perhaps we preferred to avoid conflict rather than face it squarely.


4. Visionmakers always say what they see, even when it's not pretty. That is not license to be rude, unskilled or blunt in our communication. It is a requirement to say what we see in a way that others can hear. Disappointment provides practice.


6. Other people may not see what we see. Patience is required to help them cross the bridge from their present perspective to a new way of seeing.


7. Self-pity is a popular trap. Many of us use it to get attention from other people. These behaviors are "less than becoming." Yet, we are all vulnerable to them in states of disappointment. Visionmakers strive to avoid self-pity and enrolling others into their mood because they recognize that it is toxic to their dreams.


8. Experienced Visionmakers earned their mastery by overcoming disappointment not wallowing in it. They have the resiliency and mental toughness for the life-long journey of meaning. They don't wimp out.


9. Reactivity wastes time. For every hour spent brooding about what woulda, coulda, shoulda happened, we could be engaging in self-improvement and redreaming.


10. Disappointment is announcement that we are taking things very seriously. Maybe we need to take a break, chill out and gain some perspective. Sometimes we forget that this is an expedition! Stuff happens. Lighten up.


© Patrick O’Neill 2010. All rights reserved

Posted on February 17, 2010 and filed under Crisis.