The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.
~ Robert Kiyosaki
The only way to completely avoid disappointment is to stay within your limits and never try anything new. But, that’s not an option for people who want to defy the status quo and find freedom. We dream big and take action to make them come true. But, often the results of our action may not be what we expect. Failures are part of the process of finding freedom. To persevere on this path is also to accept disappointment as part of life and move on to what needs to be done to keep going forward. I believe there is a way to deal with disappointment that I have learned on my own journey.
Last Friday, I bought a domain name and web hosting service. It was my first time and I was very excited. I had always been putting it off because of the fear that things might not work out. So, this was a big step for me and a commitment towards creating my own freedom in life. I expected that I would just sign up, pay, and the website would be up in a few minutes, and had even written a great blog post to flag off my new website. Sadly, that did not happen. I read online that sometimes it takes as long as 48 hours to complete the process. Four days of having done all I could have, I have come to terms with the disappointment of not having a website of my own.
What surprises me though is my reaction. I have been unusually calm about it. The old me would have been bitching about it on social media and sending hate mail to the support team (Ok, I’m exaggerating, but not by much). Come to think of it, when most people try something new (which is uncomfortable and scary) and it does not work out the way they thought it would, they retaliate with anger and frustration. The truth is, experimentation and failure go hand in hand. And, people who are walking the path to freedom like freelancers, entrepreneurs, hustlers; they face disappointment regularly. In fact, I would say that most people give up on their dreams of freedom after getting burned by such experiences. Those who succeed are the ones who persevere on this path, and move on despite the disappointment.
Disappointment: Cause and Solution
Disappointment comes from the desire to control outcomes that we have absolutely no control over. You can’t control if McDonald’s runs out of the burger you want. You can do nothing about the rain on the day you had planned to go out. And, if your computer does not boot up, there is no point in hitting the start button repeatedly in frustration (you have my permission to go completely nuts if this happens though). But, whatever happens, you have a choice. You can keep grumbling about it or you can decide what to do next.
It is best explained in a concept by Stephen Covey (in the book Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People). The circle of influence and the circle of concern. It says that every event or decision in our life falls within either of the two circles. Those within the circle of influence are completely within our control. Like writing a blog post. And, those within the circle of concern are things that we worry about. Like worrying about how many people will like the blog post or will comment on it. For most of us, the circle of influence is far smaller than the circle of concern. This leads to a lot of unhappiness and disappointment in life. Our aim then, should be to expand our circle of influence and shrink our circle of concern, as much as possible. If it is not within our power to influence, there’s no point being concerned about it.
Lessons learnt from blogging
The path I have been on has taught me to accept disappointment. But, I have also learned how to let it go and take action to keep moving forward. One thing that has helped me deal with disappointment has been writing regularly for my blog. It has helped me to to build the habit of putting my thoughts in public domain, in spite of the fear of what other people would say. So, when one of my posts is completely ignored, I just stop worrying about it and move on to writing the next one. I know that I do my best when writing, but getting people to like or comment on my post is not within my power directly. The only thing I can do is to make sure that my next post is better. I have gotten used to the discomfort of disappointment. Seeing that the world does not come crashing down on my head, if things don’t go the way I want them to, has helped me develop a certain mindset. I focus on the things that I can do, plan what has to be done in the worst case scenario, and move on to the next thing that has to be done.
So, now that I am done with worrying about my website not being online, it is time to move on to what I can do. The web hosting service I used (Hostagator) offers a 45 day money back policy. So, I will wait a couple of days more, and if things don’t get resolved by then I will email them about it. If it’s still unresolved after another week, I’ll ask for a refund. I’ll still have ownership of the domain name though, so I’ll pick another web hosting service. Meanwhile, I keep writing for my blog.
So, if you have been ever been disappointed by trying something new, and have stopped experimenting as a result; stopped pursuing your dreams and your freedom, remember this. You are still alive, and tomorrow is a new day. What you have not been able to do till now does not matter. What matters is what you will do tomorrow.
So, what will you do tomorrow, that you haven’t done before? It would be awesome to read your answer in the comments below.