Fighting Discouragement

7:59:00 PM

The lights in the stadium go off except for those at the center. All eyes are fixed on the ring as the fight’s about to start. I am going one on one with him again. I wish I didn't have to but there’s no choice. It’s either him or me. I have knocked him out several times before. But tonight looks different. He looks much stronger. Can I knock him out again?  

The ring announcer comes up to the center and speaks into the microphone, "Weighing in at 400 pounds, in this corner, we have the challenger, Mr. Discouragement!"The crowd cheers. The eyes slowly turn toward me as they announce my name. The bell rings and now we must fight again! Do I have what it takes to overcome 400 pounds of discouragement?!

How many times have you had to fight discouragement? Discouragement gets you in the ring of life just waiting to hit for a knock out.  And no matter how many times you've won the fight before, it sure is strong enough to make a comeback.

I've just come out of what I call one of the most discouraging phases I've ever had in my life. There was a good turn of events that I had to deal with personally in the past two months or so. Even this blog post was supposed to come out in October but I just couldn't put myself to write.

To start with, Anu’s mom lost her battle with cancer. With Anu carrying at the moment (more on that in the coming blog posts!), it was not easy to handle the loss. It was her mom’s last wish to see our baby. Then things at the organization where we volunteer, seemed to have lost all momentum, which many times prompted us to think of quitting. And there were other minor issues that all came in together that seemed to be a big deal at the time.

Isn't it interesting that at times when bad things happen, all of them seem to come together?

I realized that discouragement if not dealt with can cause life to lose interest and passion. It can weigh us down to such an extent that our normal daily routines get altered. It makes us lethargic to almost anything and everything that needs to be done.

Former heavy weight boxing champion, George Foreman puts it this way, "A huge part of boxing is mental preparation. If you lose the bout inside your mind, you will lose it in the ring too."

Someone once compared life to a roller coaster ride. I wish it were that easy. All you have to do is to keep your eyes closed when you're going downhill. It would get over in a moment and then you can open them. But, alas…you can’t do that in real life, can you?

We have to get in, sweat it out and make sure we have a knockout victory if we are ever going to move forward in our lives. And it’s not easy especially when everything around us seems to be going downhill.

In his book, “The Difference Maker”, Dr. John C. Maxwell writes about two kinds of people when it comes to dealing with discouragement: splatters and bouncers. He says that when splatters hit rock bottom, they fall apart, and they stick to the bottom like glue. On the other hand, when bouncers hit bottom, they pull together and bounce back. 

Here’s what I learnt when I was going through discouragement: If I stay at rock bottom, then it won’t be very long before I quit out on life altogether. And I can’t quit on life, I need to quit on discouragement.

What does it take to be a bouncer? No matter how hard the blows, how do we get back up to our feet and score a knock out?

I want to give the 3 C’s of defeating discouragement.

1. Call a friend.

Former US President, Woodrow Wilson said, “At every crisis in one’s life, it is absolute salvation to have some sympathetic friend to whom you can think aloud without restraint or misgiving.” 

One of the worst things to do in a situation that causes us to get discouraged is to sulk and sit in a corner.
Get up. Pick the phone and call a friend or get out of where you're and go over to a friend's place.
Talk it out. Many times, simply talking to someone that we know and trust can get us to stop being discouraged.

There have been so many times in the past two months when I was just tempted to sit it out all alone. But when I decided that I wanted to move forward, opening up to trusted friends made it so much easier to carry the load.

2. Change your perspective.

Most of the times, we often get discouraged about something due to our perspective of the situation. And it needn't necessarily be true. It's important not to assume anything based on just a few things we know. Get the true facts before getting into any conclusion.

This is why it’s so important to talk to someone…They may throw in a fresh perspective of the situation we may have never even thought about.

And no matter what, remember that it’s not the end of the world. One of the things that I kept telling myself right throughout was that since I’m still breathing, I know that God’s not done with me yet.

In his book, “Three steps forward, two steps behind”, Charles Swindoll writes, “Isn't it interesting how you can be all involved in your own little world, your own little house, and then one day you take an airplane flight, and it changes your perspective? The plane climbs to 15000…25000….30000 feet and what do you see? You see the whole world down there! Your perspective is altered because you are no longer looking at life from the viewpoint of one little room, nor are you worried about the color of one little drape.”

3. Confront the problem.

Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

We have spoken it out and now have a changed perspective. Go back to the problem with a fresh perspective; see what can be done about it and do it. Many times, with a fresh perspective as we enter into difficult situations, we get to see the light of fresh opportunities. 

Fresh perspectives show us fresh opportunities.

Confront the problem with the fresh opportunity in perspective. Don’t run away from it.

When we learn to confront the issues, that’s when we start to move out of discouragement and begin making progress. That is when we knock out discouragement for good.

Author and Pastor Dan Reiland said, “We must lean into problems. That's key in making progress. Real problems require real solutions, not bailouts or passing them on.”

Of course, in my case, with Anu’s mom passing away, it wasn't easy to deal with the loss but we decided to move on knowing that her mom's pain was taken away. We began to look into the organization with a fresh perspective and found out what we needed to do to bring back the momentum and surely enough things are getting back on track now.

So the next time discouragement decides to take you on, remember to call a friend, change your perspective and confront the problem.

So what are your views on defeating discouragement?

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  1. truly inspirational... you know me. I was pretty much a 'splatterer' for a long time. But recently, I decided to make that change.. got tired of everything just falling apart and having to watch castles i was building crumble,

    My take: just keep having faith that there is a better tomorrow. I have no guarentees but I know if i give up now, im just gonna be alive, not living. And I do not want to live my life looking back at the wrong turns.. would rather see how many more turns lie ahead and whether i can make a few right ones there which change the tide in my favour.

    1. THanks Radha!
      That's true... there's always a better tomorrow! Loved your turns analogy...more like a dice game...keep throwing it in there for a better score!

    2. Remember Ludo? We get so frustrated when our opponent hits consecutive sixes and we are stuck with ones and twos slowing us down... as you said, keep rolling the dice. Can't keep crying about the throws that didnt land in sixes... just keep rolling and believe that there are a couple of sixes that will help you reach your destination before the game ends.

    3. Ludo to Snake and LAdders! USed to love playing them!
      Yeah, always keep rolling the dice having faith that your sixes will come too! Important thing is not to quit half way through! :)

  2. I am floored..loved your write-up. I knew you to be an avid reader from school days, but you are so good at putting it all on a blog too. I agree..when you are down with many hits..your friends are the avenue to get your enthusiasm of living back. Great read..

    1. Thanks Febs!
      Ummm from school days? Lol yeah only was more into Tinkle back then :)
      Well put...loved the living back part! A true friend will always take time to listen and you get your life back together!

  3. Replies
    1. THanks Riyaz! Hope everything's fine at your end!

  4. Superbly written. I am sure a lot of youngsters will benefit from your association and wise counsel. For a tree to touch the heavens, the roots have to go down deep into hell. Every challenge is an opportunity to see yourself in the mirror...

    1. THanks Santosh!
      Yep, well said! Every challenge is an opportunity! And indeed one's roots have to go deep in order to withstand the storms that come in

  5. Hey Danny... very good man... really encouraging dude.... nice one... :)

  6. Hey Danny... very good man... really encouraging dude.... nice one... :)

    1. Thanks Sumod...good to have you here! you need encouragement in times of discouragement!

  7. A great start.. setting up the mood and getting the reader hitched. I truly appreciate the way you penned down such a topic with such an ease. Kudos!!!! :)

    1. THanks Surbhi!
      Feels great coming from a writer like you! Thanks a lot!

  8. This post has been selected for the Spicy Saturday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)


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