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Disappointment and misery – Editorial by Bryan Golden

Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Disappointment is inevitable, but misery is a choice.  Disappointment is a temporary reaction to a setback, whereas misery is a longer term emotional state.  Disappointment is linked to a specific situation, whereas misery becomes a way of life.

Not everything you attempt will work as planned.  Although it is disappointing to stumble and fall, when channeled properly, disappointment is transformed into motivation.  Motivation is the drive needed to continue moving toward success regardless of setbacks.

Misery results when disappointment becomes a way of life.  Feeling sorry for yourself, lamenting the past, blaming other people or circumstances, and making excuses are some causes of misery.  Disappointment turns into misery when you continually make excuses for failure by assigning blame.

A constantly negative outlook leads to misery.  Questions and statements such as “Why does this always happen to me?” “It’s so unfair,” “Nothing I do matters,” and “Nothing I do ever works,” are indicators of a misery generating attitude.

Failure only occurs when you give up.  Therefore, when your efforts don’t produce the desired results, you have not failed as long as you keep moving forward.

A feeling of helplessness feeds misery.  Throwing up your hands in despair claiming “There’s nothing I can do,” causes you to give up.  Although disappointment is frustrating, you don’t have to turn it into misery.

Worrying about anything, whether it be the past, present, or future, is a complete waste of time which leads to misery.  The past can’t be changed but it shows you what worked and what didn’t.  The present and future are shaped by the actions you start taking now.  Idly wishing and hoping for circumstances to improve causes misery.

A positive, can do attitude, combined with proactivity prevents disappointment from turning into misery.  When faced with disappointment, determine your next positive step.  Being able to answer the question, “Where do I go from here?” gets you back up and ready to move forward.  A plan of action is the best misery prevention.

Understanding what went wrong and why, allows you to intelligently chart a course for moving forward.  This is the process of self-monitoring.  It entails being constantly aware of the cause and effect relationships which impact your results.

Accurate self-monitoring requires unbiased objectivity in order to make the best possible decisions.  Misery clouds your ability to accurately analyze what has occurred and why, along with deciding what your next step should be.

Misery is repelled by focusing on a strategy for moving forward.  Let go of any excuses for failure you are holding on to.  Instead, concentrate only on reasons to succeed.  The benefits of success far outweigh the consequences of failure.

You can prevent disappointment from turning into misery.  This is accomplished by changing your outlook.  Simply put, to move past disappointment determine your next step forward.  Conversely, feeling sorry for yourself pushes you into misery.

Disappointment can be utilized as a springboard to success.  Misery, however, keeps you in an ever deepening hole.  Misery is obsessing about all the things you think you can’t do and all of the things you think don’t or won’t work.

Whenever you stumble or fall, pick yourself up, shake yourself off and keep going.  Change strategy, adjust course, and make corrections as needed.  Life is fluid.  There are always new things to learn.

Not everything you do will work as expected.  Disappointment is a normal occurrence.  Use disappointment to boost your perseverance, determination, and drive.  Misery need not be a way of life.  Regardless of where you are or what has already happened, you have the ability to move forward on a better path.

NOW AVAILABLE:  “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book.  Visit or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at or write him c/o this paper. Ó 2015 Bryan Golden