How to Find Motivation After Defeat

As an ambitious young woman, I often find myself reaching for the stars. Sometimes, they’re out of reach, and one of the hardest things I’ve had to overcome is accepting that. I am a sensitive and passionate person- when I set my mind to something, it’s all I want, and all I think about for days, weeks, maybe months. With that being said, it makes let-downs even harder to overcome.

Sometimes it’s easy to identify why you didn’t have the success you wanted- I didn’t manage my time well enough, I didn’t study enough, etc. Sometimes, though, things are out of your control and don’t go the way you had hoped. It’s easy to sit around and mope, wonder what could have been different. It’s easy to have negative thoughts and beat yourself up over what “could have been”, but at the end of the day, it’s not productive.

A friend of mine recently told me about something he learned at college as a theatre major: If you don’t get the part, you have 24 hours to be upset and complain, but after that, you move forward. This not only applies to theatre but any defeat. Your feelings about things are valid, but it hurts you more than it helps you to be sad and angry for a long time- never moving on. I am currently in my 24 hour phase about something that left me feeling completely hopeless and made me rethink my entire future; however, I’m 14 hours in and while it still hurts, I’m excited for every other opportunity that is going to happen in the future and I feel confident that I am going to move on from this lost opportunity and be stronger and more ambitious because of it.

It’s so easy to lose motivation and give up because of any minor setback, but I think that advice is so wonderful because it forces you to push away those negative thoughts after 24 hours, because at the end of the day, what’s done is done. I am a huge planner. I’m always thinking about the future and what’s next until I have a setback, then it’s like I take 5 steps back in my progress of planning and being excited in my future. I wish I could say that I have completely learned how to avoid negative self-talk, but that’s just not true. It’s not true for a lot of people. It’s as if we’re programmed to be our own harshest critics, which can sometimes be beneficial and push us, but it can also be harmful.

I am no master at moving on from things. I am still going to have moments after these 24 hours where I’m going to feel defeated over this again. What is most important is that I learn not to dwell on things that are done, and move forward so I can work harder and achieve even more than I thought possible. Just some food for thought.




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