Disappointment – Navigating a Delightful Past
Sweet memories marred by bitter realities are ice cream cones sprinkled with dead flies. 10 years ago, your team pulled you forward. Today you’re teaching fish to climb trees. Yesterday pouring into others produced enthusiasm and loyalty. But now, you’re knifed in the back.
Lingering on past joy causes self-defeat when:
- You impose unrealistic expectations on people. Today’s team isn’t yesterday’s. They feel disrespected when you compare them to former teams.
- Entitlement deenergizes enthusiasm. Progress seemed easier yesterday. Why is it so hard today?
- The peak-end rule pollutes your perspective. We have a bias to judge experiences based on their peak. You say, “Last week was great.” But you reached one big goal on Tuesday. You say, “Last week sucked.” But you had one terrible confrontation that cast a shadow over everything.
- Overconfidence inspires you to underestimate challenges.
- Rigid thinking makes you slow to adapt. If it worked in the past it will work in the present. But that’s only true in a world where nothing changes.
Disappointment: obsessed with the past:
Dwelling on the past destroys you. You’re defeated before you begin.
The end is here when disappointment exceeds aspiration.
Reflect on the way you process disappointment.
What’s true when people constantly talk about past pains?
- Rehashing offenses indicates lack of forgiveness, bitterness, and poor conflict resolution skills.
- Helplessness dominates perspective. You can’t change a negative past. Thinking of it sucks the life out of you. Or it may be justification for misery.
- You focus on things people have done to you instead of things you can do today. Often, people haven’t done anything to you. They just screwed up. They weren’t thinking about you at all.
How might leaders navigate disappointment?
How do you help others move through disappointment?
One more thing:
How to Live Up to Your Aspiration – Not Down to Your Disappointment
Powerful message, Dan. Like the dial direct approach. Cheers, Barbara
Thanks Barbara. I feel the challenge of not letting the way other people treat me be the deciding factor in how I show up. Yes, I need to repsond with others in mind. But it’s not healthy to give too much control to others.
A lot to digest, especially after that Wikipedia read on the Peak-end rule. Thanks for these reminders. Plenty of aspiration to go around!
The peak-end rule is powerful. Daniel Pink says, leaders can use it by leaving the right message with team members at the end of the day. Instead of rushing to get home. Stop in a give a good word to someone. Ask them what they plan to do tomorrow. Congratulate them on a success. It sticks with them because it’s the end of the day.
“If it worked in the past it will work in the present. But that’s only true in a world where nothing changes.” This is so true – very well said.
Thanks Travis. True, but challenging for me. Things feel turbulent because they are. Sometimes I wish last years strategy still worked today. 🙂
I think that is true for all of us. Sometimes I feel like the famous book title: “This is no country for old men.”
Bitterness and resentment keep you locked in to the past. Forgiveness helps you let go of the emotions that bind you to the past mistreatment. Learn what you can and move forward.
I know–easier said then done. But the person who hurt you may not even realize what they did or they have long forgotten what they did. The longer you hold on to the emotions and the hurt, the longer it will impact you.
Thanks Paul. Perhaps we should ask, “What exactly did your offender do TO YOU?” Sometimes it’s just our disappointment that hurts us. The offender wasn’t even thinking about us. They just did what they naturally do. I think selfish people may not even be thinking about being selfish.