We all need tools in our box for beating disappointment – those moments when our hopes are dashed and the weight of the universe seems to descend upon us.
No matter how successful or unsuccessful you have been in the past, you are sure to have experienced it at some time.
There’s always failure. And there’s always disappointment. And there’s always loss. But the secret is learning from the loss and realising that none of those holes are vacuums
Michael J Fox
Sometimes it seems that for every effort we expend, disappointment lies around the corner waiting to pounce and the danger with that, of course, is that our spirits become so low that we lose ambition and give up.
But in order to succeed we must, as Rudyard Kipling so famously writes, treat triumph and disaster (or disappointment) – those two “imposters” – just the same. Only then will we have reached true maturity.
Not so long ago I was asked to pitch for a consultancy with a major government organisation. Although I reached the last two I wasn’t ultimately successful on that occasion.
I am bound to say I thought I had it in the bag; everything had gone so well during the presentations and assessments. But it was not to be.
Like almost anyone, I experienced ten minutes of sheer disappointment when the news came that I hadn’t got it. But the important words to note there are “ten minutes”.
As Richard Bandler says, if you are dwelling on the past your concentration is in the wrong place.
It is easy to focus on what might have been and use words such as “By not getting that I lost $X.” In reality, I hadn’t lost anything. I didn’t have it in the first place.
Oftentimes we get a little bit out of equilibrium in these circumstances.
We puff ourselves up a little, get the idea that we should get what we are looking for, there really can’t be anyone more suited to this assignment but me, and end up with an inflated idea of ourselves.
When the disappointment arrives we wonder what has gone wrong.
Then rather than puffed up we become deflated and for a moment or two doubt our usefulness. We may ask: Was I really up to this in the first place?
But the universe has a way of dragging us back into equilibrium. A hug from my wife and tiny granddaughter soon reminded me what was truly important in my life.
What would I have done if they hadn’t been around at the time? How can we make sure that we have tools in our box, so to speak, that we can draw on when we need additional resources?
You need to put in place a propulsion system that will energise you and propel you to the mental place you would prefer to be. So what does it for you?
Generally, there are no right or wrong answers to this question. We are all different and what is effective with one will not have the slightest impact upon another.
Perhaps it is not altogether correct to say there are no right or wrong answers.
Drinking a bottle of gin until you are senseless is probably not a good idea.
Nor is stuffing yourself with food until you are hardly able to move.
Neither is having a shot of cocaine or heroin. Each of these responses leads to dependency and addiction and does nothing for your well being.
So concentrate on your senses. This is primarily about feelings, isn’t it? What can you see, hear or touch that will improve your mood? They are the essential ones although smell and taste may also help.
Do you have a favourite piece of music that instantly lifts your mood? I have a whole playlist of what I call Anchor Music that will brighten my moment.
Mostly it is pop music linked to happy memories that immediately propels me to those times in my life.
Anchoring is an extremely effective NLP tool and if you don’t fully understand it, now is the time to read about it on this website.
But a piece of music that will inspire me and send me into overdrive is Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th symphony. There are others that I find uplifting but this music will rocket me across the universe.
So I ask again: what does it for you? It will probably be something entirely different, but whatever it is make sure it is loaded on to an MP3 player that you can carry with you and call on when you need it.
If you don’t have an MP3 player, start putting a little money aside each week until you can afford one.
Meditation and self-hypnosis are also powerful techniques that I call upon at these times and which cost absolutely nothing.
I have plenty of meditation music on my MP3 that will help me to drift peacefully to another place.
But even without music, I know what to do. Read the absolutely free information about self-hypnosis on this website.
Make sure you have a mental place to retreat to at times of stress. It may be your favourite holiday destination, a local beauty spot, a passionate experience or something or somewhere entirely fictitious.
It really doesn’t matter; it just has to be real to you. Take yourself to as quiet a spot as possible. Close your eyes and take one or two deep breaths. If there is any background noise, let it drift off into the distance.
See yourself in your special place. Feel what you would feel. Hear what you would hear. Smell and taste what you would smell and taste.
Bathe yourself in those feelings for a few minutes or as long as you feel is appropriate and effective for you.
When you decide to leave that place in your mind, direct your concentration to the future. Think about a new plan or project to throw yourself into.
Realise that there is no point in investing effort or feelings into that which disappointed you. It is over and done with. Let it stay in the past.
Another way to get over disappointment is to get out and enjoy yourself with friends.
If you belong to a gym, get along there and run it off. Or get together with colleagues and play your favourite sport.
We have just scratched the surface in this short article. NLP recognises anything that works for you, and I hope that you found something here that assists you or prompts you to look inside yourself to find an effective solution.
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