I choose to be encouraged, not discouraged


I choose to be encouraged, not discouraged.

You can always count on getting encouragement from the people who are close to you. Friends, family. You can also count on getting discouragement from those who are bitter, or unkind. Or worse, those who resent you because you chose to do something where they choose to do nothing.

But there’s also that third group that’s really interesting: the acquaintances, the people who know you a little bit, but not much. The reaction here is unpredictable. I’ve had acquaintances offer discouraging words when I expected positive ones. And I’ve had people who I hardly knew be incredibly effusive with their support. The former can be puzzling and the latter oddly inspiring.

Most people are encouraged by encouraging words. Some people are discouraged by discouraging words—while others see those negative words as a challenge to be met (“I’ll show them!”).

Over the years, however, I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t really matter what people say, because your reaction is all about you. You choose how to react to what people say. You choose to be optimistic in the face of negativity, or pessimistic in the face of positivity. It’s really up to you, and no one else.

So if it’s up to you, then don’t let yourself get discouraged. Try that new thing, give it your best shot, and see what happens.

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