The Secret Code To Transformation 5: Disappointment
You are running a really great race. Your breathing is relaxed and rhythmic. Your pace is strong. You have the goal of achieving your personal best time in today’s event. About 500 meters from the finish line you begin to get a cramp in your left calf muscle which turns into writhing pain. When you cross the line, you are in pain from the muscle aches, and as you look up to see your finishing time, it is a full minute slower than you had hoped. At that moment you have two choices of inner states. First you can have a great deal of satisfaction for how well you felt throughout most of the race which will allow you to compete in many more races in a similar fashion, or you can end up in disappointment because you did not reach the time you set out to achieve.
When I first self-published Dreams for Peace in 2004, I had the expectation from the advertising that the company said they would do and from using Facebook and email that I would sell a lot of copies of the book. It didn’t happen. Even when I did a series of dream meetings, the sales were unspectacular. Like the racer above, and believe me I have been in that situation in a race, I ended up in the negative emotion of disappointment. At that time I had not worked on the secret codes with negative emotions. It was only a vague idea that had not yet come to fruition.
Disappointment is the feeling you get when something is not correct about the expectations. You forget about the positive processes that got you to where you are, begin to think that something is terribly wrong, and then believe you have to change everything to get a better result. Disappointment is a bit tricky and peculiar for the following reason. If the racer would have been satisfied with the race and avoided disappointment, it would mean that he/she was ready to add something new to the training. If however the predominant feeling is disappointment, it means that the training process was correct. It just needs to be remembered and repeated.
Since I felt disappointment about the result of the sales after the publication because it didn’t meet my expectations, what I did next was completely incorrect. I started to think that I needed to promote more and put it out there more. It seems logical, right? No sales equals lack of promotion therefore more promotion. With disappointment you have to understand that the goal is wrong, but what you were doing prior to setting the wrong goal was absolutely correct. It is very challenging to have enough self-discipline to use the logic that disappointment requires, but when you do so, it produces marvelous results. My original goal in writing was to prove, that since a family is the core unit of society, that the predominant goal of our time is the unity of the planet (God’s will for our age), and that the dream world is another one of God’s worlds, that if you study the dreams of everyone in your family, you will find the answers for peace in the world. When I finished writing Dreams for Peace, I felt like I had achieved the goal. The false expectation was to sell thousands of books. By having the experience of disappointment, it showed me that the process that worked for me in my writing was solve a challenge that I had before me, not to sell a lot of books. As absurd as that might sound to some of you reading this post, when I think about writing as solving a mystery, I am extremely motivated to write. So interesting!
With the example of the runner who is disappointed with the time, the real goal is about how to sustain a pace and feel relaxed while doing so for a long period of time. When the runner has that as the focus, rather than the time, the internal motivation will soar. The time, just like the sales, will take care of itself. There is no need to focus on it.
When you compare disappointment with frustration, you find that the two are in direct opposition to each other. If you are not clear about the distinction, it would be easy to use the states as synonyms. Frustration, as described in an earlier post lets you know that the goal is correct, but the means to getting there is wrong or inappropriate. With frustration you keep the goal, and change the process to getting there. The attachment is to the incorrect process. For instance, you can believe that if you use strong discipline, it can change any child’s behavior, and then when it doesn’t work, you just need to use more negative discipline. Whereas maybe listening and gentleness needed to be added to the picture, the insistence on the one process brings failure. The goal is correct, positive behavior, but the method is not.
When a child comes home after having failed an exam, it is easy to get into a disappointed state, but other states are possible as well. If you are disappointed, it means that you were doing some really positive things that were correct, but because the child failed, you will most likely give them up. You have to remember what worked and then keep doing more. If you are frustrated, it means that what you did was incorrect or ineffective. It needs to be changed. If you are angry, at the child, it means that you have lost all of calm, which means that you will not be able to figure out how to get the best results.
The questions for Disappointment.
What are the expectations that I have set that are incorrect for myself/others?
What are the processes that are successful for me? How can I get back to them?
Why am I so attached to the expectations?
Thanks Richard. I like your distinction and explanation of the contrasting solutions to frustration and disappointment. There is surely a wisdom in knowing whether to change our methods or our goals, and using our feelings as an indicator is brilliant !
I recently recalled a dream I had about 30 years ago which basically told me my mission on earth. I started writing about it ; whether I had understood it correctly and was actually doing it. After about 20,000 biographical words of what happened in my life during the 10 years after that dream, and some directional prayer and meditation, the penny dropped, and I stopped writing my story. It was then that I realized that I, also, was primarily writing to solve a mystery, rather than writing a clever book.
It is very powerful when I think of writing as a way to solve a mystery.