When you think about your next goal in life, do you think about dirty dishes? Normally I don’t either, but tonight is different. Here’s the problem. I have a lot I would like to do each day, but there’s always something in the back of my mind – there are dishes to do. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I clean them, they don’t go away. I don’t know if my house is different than any of yours, but few and far between are the times when the sink is completely empty. I can’t seem to escape the dirty dishes.
Dirty Dishes and Discouragement
You know what else is always seems to pop up on the road to accomplishment? Discouragement. Just as I can’t go a day without dirty dishes, it seems as though I can’t ever stretch myself without discouragement creeping in. Whenever we try something new, discouragement is hard to avoid. It can come from doubt or failure or the fear of either two.
Have you read about Fred Astaire’s first screen test? The memo from the testing director of MGM said, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” I bet that could cause a little discouragement. But there’s no denying what he was able to accomplish in spite of it. How did he do it?
Would you believe that the cure to discouragement lies in the word itself? It took me a second to see it; for some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me. The opposite of discouragement is courage! Discouragement comes from a lack of courage. So how do we get courage when we are left wanting? Easy. Fake it. Because whether you’re faking courage or actually feeling courageous, our brains don’t know the difference.
Dirty Dishes and Disappointment
Along with discouragement comes disappointment – or is it the other way around? Either way, it’s about as avoidable as dirty dishes! Disappointment comes from not realizing out goals. And since we’re rarely born able to do something new perfectly on our first try, we’re quite prone to it!
I believe the solution to disappointment lies in indifference. Disappointment is an internal emotion that only affects us as long as we allow it. To think that we will never succeed because we haven’t yet succeeded is illogical and untrue. We knew it would take practice when we set out on our quest. Disappointment is just our brains lying to our heart. Don’t believe it – just ignore it.
Dirty Dishes and Distraction
Dirty dishes and distraction are almost inseparable. And when dirty dishes themselves aren’t distracting me, you can bet something else will. There are a thousand easier roads when trying to accomplish something important. They tempt and taunt us with visions of luxury and ease where pleasure and relaxation will abound. Sadly, we forget what we set out to accomplish and often fall prone to those lies.
The cure for distraction lies in one principle with many names. Focus. Persistence. Perseverance. Dedication. Call it what you want, you still need it to succeed. A story is told (which may or may not be true) of King Louis XVII of France. It is said that when he was a child, he was taken by enemies of his father and subjected to all manner of vile and dishonorable behavior. It was their goal to destroy him morally. But when after six months of this treatment he had not succumbed to these influences and was asked why, his answer was simple, “I cannot do what you ask for I was born to be a king.”
Never lose sight of your goals or your mission. Distractions will surround us, and that is inevitable. Make up your mind before setting out that they will have no affect on you.
Time to Do the Dishes
In the time that it took me to write this, the dirty dishes have returned again. In spite of my best efforts, I can’t seem to avoid them. But what I can do is acknowledge that they will always be there and decide now not to let them keep me from accomplishing my next goals. With proper management, I can succeed in spite of them. The same applies to my discouragement, disappointment and distractions. Just keep up the good work!