Many times during auditions, I was told that I couldn’t carry a note with a bucket, and that I sure couldn’t play the piano.

Ray Charles

Discouragement can come from many sources. Friends, family, and strangers alike may savage our goals, our sense of self-worth. But no one outside ourselves is truly intimate with what is on the inside. No one knows the extent of our will, the urgency of our desire, or our perseverance.

Only we know what we are capable of, so we must guard that knowledge well against the “seek and destroy” missions of others. Some of us may find it simple to deny discouragement outright. Others will opt for more oblique ways to keep it from wreaking devastation—say through visualization or positive thinking. Whatever works.

We may grow weary from the fight or get bruised by our setbacks, but no one else can make us give up.

Call to Action: On this day, I will occasionally repeat silently to myself: “I am efficient and creative.”

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