by Jared Humphers

If you’re a creative or a human in general, chances are very likely you’ve dealt with discouragement.

It comes in many different shapes and forms, from a computer crashing to working hard on a project, only to have someone else get the raise. It’s a real de-motivator and can easily knock the wind out of us.

When this happens, it’s very easy to let bitterness, resentment, and anger get the better of us- and for good reason: it’s natural.

But I encourage you to manage that well and not let it get to you.

It’s important to remember that we don’t have control over many things that happen in life. Life is full of bumps and waves. Sometimes, those bumps and waves are a bit bigger and longer than others.

But life is also full of mountaintops. In fact, I’d have to say that every mountaintop makes every valley worth it. Keeping a good attitude and positive mindset is crucial.

When we allow discouragement to get to us, we use up valuable time and let it keep us from doing what we need to do.

So, how do we respond to discouragement?


1) Recognize it

The first step in solving any problem is acknowledging it exists. This isn’t about being “strong” or “weak”- it’s about realizing a problem exists and looking at how to fix it!

2) Don’t dwell on it

Oftentimes, discouragement is a tool of distraction. The more we live in discouragement, the more depressive and negative thoughts start popping up. It’s very easy to want comfort, and we all need that during discouraging times!

However, this comfort can become a bit of an issue when we start getting complacent in our feelings of discouragement, and we wind up not doing anything to combat it. Sometimes, it might actually be better to simply ignore discouraging thoughts.

3) Monitor your thoughts and words

Your mind and mouth are two of the most important things you have. Because of this, we need to guard against negative thoughts, because they eventually become words, actions, and habits. Again, we can’t really avoid discouragement from coming up, but we can choose how to respond to it.

This won’t necessarily change your circumstances, but it can change how you view them! Think and speak positive things about yourself. Make the conscious choice not to allow discouraging thoughts poison your mind or mouth.

4) Rest

Discouragement tends to find its way to people who are tired- mentally and physically. It’s hard to monitor your thoughts and words when you’re drained.

Sometimes, it’s best to take a step back, catch your breath, and hit the reset button. Schedule some time to walk, reflect, and pause every day, if possible. Then, come back to your work- I can guarantee you you’ll be more effective!

5) Don’t just remove; Replace

A lot of times, the go-to thought is to remove anything from our lives that’s causing us to be discouraged. While this is an important step to take, the second equally-important step is to replace it with something better.

When discouragement comes up, try thinking of three things you’re thankful for (they don’t have to be big or detailed, either).

With life, we’ll all inevitably get knocked down- especially as creatives. It’s just part of it. We’ll almost always be told “no” more than “yes”. The important part is how we respond to that. Don’t allow what’s discouraging you to get to you-it doesn’t have that much power.

Louisiana College Graduate:
B.A. Music, piano concentration

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