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Discourage: to tend to prevent something from happening by making it more difficult or unpleasant. To try to stop somebody from doing something. To make somebody feel less motivated, confident, or optimistic.
Why is it that we can get 99 compliments and 1 criticism and all we remember is the criticism? Why do we focus on the negative? For years I talked myself out of doing things or even trying things because of negative stuff I heard or read. I wonder how many great experiences I denied myself by doing this.
I started writing my memoirs in late November last year. By the time the first draft was done, I was exhausted, but I was also energized. I sent it out to several people to read and for comments and was very pleased with their responses – but of course most of these people are friends. When I sent it out for a professional critique, it was a different story. While she liked my style of writing and thought I had a good story to tell, she found lots of holes and missing information. The list was about 6 pages long. Whew!
However, for some reason, this time I was determined not to be discouraged. I even made a sign to put over my desk at home and at work saying, “I will not be discouraged!” I forced myself to look at her criticism not as negativity, but as a blueprint for progress. I e-mailed her back and asked her to point out some of the things she had really liked because I wanted to make sure I didn’t screw up any of those in the process of re-writing and I wanted to build on them.
I paid close attention to that 6 page list and tried to incorporate most of her questions and suggestions into the second draft. Very soon I’ll be looking at her new list and starting on the third draft. It’s exciting and rather daunting all at the same time, but I will not be discouraged!