Overcoming Discouragement

By Alan L. Olsen, CPA, MBA (tax)
Managing Partner
Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen and Co., LLP

When one of my friends was young, he would visit his grandparent’s farm. He loved to ride horses, tractors and play in their barn.

On one visit to their home, when he was nine years old, he was out in the barn and saw an old pitchfork lying against several bales of hay. He had watched his grandfather jam it into the hay in the past. It was great fun to play with, but he wanted to get more leverage. He placed his foot onto the bale which he was stabbing with the pitchfork, raised it up, and forgetting that his foot was there, thrust it down as hard as he could. The pitchfork when through the hay and his shoe, right into his foot.

Feeling embarrassed about what had happened, he didn’t say anything to his parents or grandparents. When he would look at his foot all he saw was a puncture wound, but what he didn’t realize was how much bacteria had been on that rusty pitchfork.

After one day, his leg began hurting. On the second day when he tried to go swimming with his friends a sharp pain shot through his leg when he dipped it into the water. He was miserable, but did his best to hide the pain.

His father noticed him limping around and when he found out what had happened, he rushed him off to the hospital. The doctor informed them that he had tetanus. Quickly, he was given an injection and the penicillin began fighting off the disease.

When my friend had entered the hospital he had poison in his leg. Poisons cause pain, illnesses and even death. Just as my friend had a poison in his life, we too can have poisons that affect us. Discouragement is a poison that is common in our society today.

When we find ourselves discouraged, we are giving up on our potential. We no longer believe in our abilities, what we can become, and the change and impact that we can have on others. Once we realize that we are in control of our life, discouragement cannot persuade us to give up on our dreams.

Reflecting on the confidence that we have in our own abilities and relating them to our current circumstances is a sure way to ward off discouragement when we come across challenges in life.