I’m Discouraged, What Should I Do?

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  • “Most of the time, the discouragement doesn’t come from failing at something. It’s that in the deepest part of our soul, we know that we’re on the wrong path.”
  • Try these four things the next time you’re feeling discouraged to bounce back from failure, gain perspective, and move forward with more confidence!
  • “There are good people out there. Never forget that. There are those of us who really care. Never forget that. There are support groups. Never forget that. There is a more positive tomorrow. Never forget that.”
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Four Secrets to Success
How to Turn Around a Bad Day
Your Four Worst Fears
How to Relieve Imposter Syndrome
Gain Real Personal Power





[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

Hey, my friends! It’s Brendon. I’m in my podcast studio today, and I was just chatting with my team and they were saying that a lot of our community is asking right now: How do you deal with discouragement?

When you’re trying to achieve your dreams, you’re trying to do something important, you’re really passionate about a project and things aren’t going well. Or someone makes fun of you, or something fails and you’re just in this place where you say, “I’m so discouraged, I just want to sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day and quit the universe.”

What do you do when you’re down on yourself?

And I know this is a big topic I take on in a lot of my episodes and I hope that you will enjoy this one. There are four things you can do to really help you deal with discouragement, both emotionally and practically.

1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

If you are feeling discouraged right now, make sure that you do this one thing: Don’t compare yourself to other people.

A lot of our discouragement in life comes from comparing ourselves to others. People say, “I’m starting to create my own art, but look at how far along someone else is. Look at how beautiful their art is, how big their business is, how many followers they have.”

We get discouraged because we’re starting small and they’ve already achieved so much, and we’re comparing our beginning to what they’ve already achieved after years or even decades of achieving. Do not compare yourself to other people.

Instead ask, “Am I following my truth? Am I working diligently towards what is important to me? Am I on my own path? Am I staying consistent to what is important to me and what I believe in and what makes me feel alive?”

Do what makes you feel alive, not what makes you compare with other people. Not what makes you feel like you’re measuring up to anybody else. You have to walk your own path.

Most of the time, the discouragement doesn’t come from failing at something. It’s that in the deepest part of our soul, we know that we’re on the wrong path.

That’s where perennial discouragement comes from. Where year after year, we’re discouraged with our life. We’re not on our path, we are not confidently pursuing the things that are true to us, that make us feel like we have a sense of personal freedom—the things that intrinsically feel like they align with our values, hopes, and dreams.

When you’re doing something, and comparing it side-by-side to other people over and over again, you’re really just blending your thing with theirs, and you’re living a conforming, freedomless life. And when you’re living a conforming life, there’s always discouragement there.

When you’re living a free life, there’s an openness and optimism, even if you’re struggling. There’s this openness and optimism because you’re doing your own thing that makes you feel alive. And that aliveness knocks out that discouragement.

So first, if you’re feeling discouraged, be honest with yourself. Have you been comparing yourself to others? Have you been measuring yourself to others? Here’s an example: I’ve been doing my episodes on YouTube for about ten years. And I know it can be very discouraging if I go and look at other YouTubers. I’ll see that they have millions of subscribers and they’ve only been making videos for six months, and I’ve been doing it for a decade.

I don’t have any cat memes, I don’t pull pranks on people. I don’t swear, and I don’t do anything that’s click-bait. Maybe that slows me down. However, I never get discouraged because I know that doing episodes like this is what I’m meant to do. I’m meant to be a teacher. I’m meant to be a coach. Like it or not, this is my style that I’ve been doing for a decade. It’s what I deeply feel is my calling and what makes me feel unique. I’m doing this extemporaneously. I don’t have a script, I don’t have a teleprompter. I don’t have extensive notes. My team will tell me what people are struggling with and ask how I would respond. And I just go.

That’s my natural gift because I spend all of my days as a high performance coach and trainer helping people. I don’t try to do what other people are doing. So, when I don’t measure up to them, I don’t get discouraged because they’re doing their thing, and I am doing my thing.

So do your thing. You will experience less discouragement in life.

2. Adopt a Learning Mindset

Second, if you get discouraged please adopt a learning mindset.

What people who are discouraged often do is adopt a catastrophic mindset. Their mindset is, “Oh my gosh, I’ve failed here so I’m a miserable jerk.” They think, “I’m a loser.” They start identifying with progress. Meaning, “If I’m not progressing enough, my identity means I’m a loser.” And so they get more and more discouraged, versus adopting the learning mindset that simply asks, “Am I learning here at the speed I’m capable of? What did I learn?” Implement that. Test, implement. Test, implement.

That “everything is on the line so it has to go perfect or it all falls apart” mindset is catastrophizing. Learning more makes you say, “Oh, what did I learn here today? Let me try that again tomorrow, let me try this again next week, let me do this new thing next month.” For me, that learning mindset almost completely wipes out that discouragement. I don’t get discouraged very often because I’m actively learning.

The more you’re looking for distinctions, versus allowing yourself to wallow and live in discouragement, the more your life advances. The more your emotions come back to a positive range, the more your curiosity is fired. Because if you feel discouraged, guess what that does? Discouragement destroys creativity.

But when you feel like you’re learning, that sparks curiosity.

Curiosity is the foundation of creativity, and creativity is the igniter of motivation.

See how that works? If you can just look at where you’re at and say, “What are the five things I’ve learned in this experience that can help me change my behavior tomorrow, or next week, or the next time I do that thing?” That knowledge gives us competency, right? When we learn, we get competent.

The more competent we get, the more confident we get. In high performance studies we call that the confidence-competence loop.

And so, the more you have that learning mindset, the more you’ll advance. It’ll change everything.

3. Take Advice from Your Future Self

Third, when you’re getting discouraged, I’d love for you to try something that sounds a little strange, but it really works. Next time you’re discouraged what I want you to do is sit down, close your eyes, and imagine sitting or standing next to you is your most confident, happy, healthy, joyous self ten years from now.

And you’re sharing with your future self that you are discouraged. I want you to imagine that confident, future you standing tall, breathing proudly, looking you in the eye, and advising you.

What would that future confident and incredible you tell present you to do now? What would the tone of their voice be? What are the three things they would tell you to do next, as the right action of integrity?

I love that practice. Every time I get down on myself, instead of wallowing in it, and telling myself, “Ugh I suck,” I go, “You know what, I’m feeling discouraged.” I’ll close my eyes and think about the future me. He’s stronger, more confident, more buff, and looking good. And literally in the most, positive, joyous, confident way, have that future me say, “Hey kid, I know you’re having a bad day, but in five years, your life is going to be extraordinary!” And present me will just listen.

Let your future highest self coach you to the next level, instead of the current you who feels down. In other words, don’t try to make decisions based on your current funk.

Envision a compelling future you advising on how to rise to your highest potential.

Really hear yourself, see yourself, and believe in that future you. Giving that present you advice can change the game. And if you struggle seeing the best you, the best future you doing that, instead imagine one of your greatest mentors. Imagine somebody who’s an inspiring figure to you. Maybe it is your grandpa, your grandma, your parents, your caregiver, somebody who you follow on social media who’s your hero, or a historical figure. Visualize that person looking you in the eye, and telling you what to do. And then implement that advice.

Follow those three things. And implement those three things as fast as possible. Have that future you, or that aspirational figure tell you the next three things that you can do today to pick yourself up. That will change the game.

4. Share Your Truth with Others

And number four, if you are feeling discouraged, here’s the hardest one: share that truth with people.

Give yourself permission to be vulnerable and tell other people, “I’m really feeling down right now.” Because the opposite of that is just stewing in silence, suffering in silence, striving in silence. And sometimes in that silence there is a lot of emotional suffering.

You don’t have to be on this journey alone.

There are people you can reach out to whether it’s at school, at work, your caregivers, your family, a nonprofit organization, or somewhere online where you can go and just share. I know it’s easy to say, “I don’t want to do that because people will make fun of me.”

Yes, it’s true, some people will make fun of you. And some people will say, “Hey, here’s some advice, kid.” Or they’ll say, “Hey, it’s okay. I get what you’re going through. I’ve been there too.” Or some people say, “Hey, here’s your resource for that.”

There are literally seven billion people on this planet. There is absolutely nothing that you are going through right now that others have not also been through. As a coach, the hardest times are when I’ve had to tell parents who lost a child that other people lost a child too. I tell them, “Let’s get you connected to that group so that you can learn how to deal with it and understand what’s going to come up emotionally in the future for you.”

I’ve had to tell people who got diagnosed with cancer, “You’re not the first person to get that diagnosis.”

It sounds flippant to say, I know. It’s too bad that we close ourselves off and we really think that our experience is so unique that we can’t share it. Because if we believe it’s so unique, we won’t ask for help. If we don’t ask for help, we don’t get the resources or the social support that help us pull ourselves out on days that we can’t do it on our own because we’re social humans.

Sometimes we need that encouragement from others when we are feeling discouraged. And that won’t happen unless we reach out.

If you just sit on the side of the road and mope, very few people will have the recognition to pull over and help you in life. But if you raise your hand, if you make some noise, if you reach out to people, all of the sudden people take note.

I know that’s hard to understand sometimes when you’re really down. Trust me, I get it. I’ve been in every position of failure in my life, whether I got bad grades at some point, or I started my first business and that failed, or I did my first big online course, or I did something and that didn’t do the numbers I wanted. Or I got sick, or I had my brain injury—many of you guys were with me when that happened. Or I started this new program. Or I did that big thing, with that big person and it didn’t work. It’s all happened to me and other people too. Whether I’ve lost loved ones or I’ve failed in business, or I struggled in this area.

The thing that pulled me through was I never being silent about it.

I would say, “Hey guys I’m going through a tough time. What do you do when you’re in this position? Can you walk me through, give me some pointers, give me some tips? I’m just curious, I just want to learn.”

And they’d hear me ask for the learning and they would open up. And sometimes I needed to reach out. Sometimes I needed to go to a volunteer organization and ask because I didn’t know any people around me who were dealing with that. Sometimes I needed to join a group or a mastermind or go to a seminar. Sometimes I needed to do something to get around other people where I could share my journey—whether it was like-minded people or qualified professionals.

Sometimes you need a coach, sometimes you need a therapist, sometimes you need a nutritionist, or a support network. I don’t know where you’re at. Whether you’re having issues with health, or family, or relationships, or your team, but somebody out of seven billion people, with thousands of human years of human history has dealt with it.

You can take solace in that. Just knowing you’re not alone, just knowing, “Wow, other people have dealt with this, let me get curious to find them. Let me go and approach them with a learning mentality. Let me go be vulnerable and say, ‘Hey, what would you do in this situation?'”

Because if you ask them, it will spark curiosity. If you ask them, they’ll give you some steps. If you ask them, you’ll learn. If you learn you get competence. You get competence, a little confidence comes back in. You know the next steps to do, you have that confidence, you take a few steps. You got a few more people cheering you on and suddenly the days aren’t so dark and you’re not alone and discouraged.

I hope this episode serves you, but I also know that you probably know somebody who is discouraged. So, if you’ll do me a favor, just send this video to them. Just send it. Just get them to watch this video. Send it to somebody you know going through a tough time if you thought any of these points were helpful.

Subscribe to my channel if you haven’t seen all the videos that we do here. I’m always taking questions on just like this. For ten years I have been recording videos, doing podcasts, and putting out a weekly newsletter just answering questions like this.

So get somebody to our community. We call our community Team HPX or HPXLIFE because HPX stands for the High Performance Experience. We really believe that everyone wants to experience the highest levels of success in their life.

But they have to perform at the next level. They have to be their best. And sometimes that requires a lot of courage to ask for help or to be part of a community like this.

So if you’re in what we call our community, Team HPX, HPXLIFE, or High Performance Experience, please invite other people. If you’re getting value from these videos—you see I’m not selling anything in them—I’m just asking you to help spread the message.

I feel like right now, we’re at a scary time where a lot of people are really discouraged and they’re down. Instead of sharing positive messages or resources like this, we’re sharing stupid click-bait or we’re sharing hate-filled messages online. It’s up to you and me, literally individuals like you, watching this to share content like this.

I think we can turn the tide. I think the world is tilting a little bit more negative than it needs to. I think we need to do something individually. Each of us.

And all you need to do is grab this link, share it with a friend, and tell somebody about what we’re doing here. I hope that this message will support them. And if you’re somebody who got that blessing or that grace from somebody else, and they sent you to this video, return that. Pay it forward, send to somebody you know who’s discouraged today, and let’s light up the world a little bit.

There are good people out there. Never forget that. There are those of us who really care. Never forget that. There are support groups. Never forget that. There is a more positive tomorrow. Never forget that, my friend.