Five Strategies to Avoid Discouragement

by Dennis Ensor

One doesn’t’ have to look far to find reasons to be discouraged.  Each of us could list a dozen or more reasons to feel down.  Between illnesses, deaths, financial struggles, relationship problems, wars, crime, politics, drugs, vehicle breakdowns, problems at work and the like there sure is a lot of bad news out there.

These “downers” don’t have to get us down, however.  With proactive prevention strategies we can avoid the pit and stay on a positive course.  Here are some things I do to stay in an upbeat frame of mind.  Using these, I seldom get discouraged.  They will work for you as well.

I listen to inspirational music.

With all the technical gadgets available for playing music today the sky is the limit.  Whether I listen to my smartphone, mp3 player or youtube I can always find my favorites.

In fact, Youtube has available just about every song that was ever recorded.  It’s amazing.   Whether it’s Celine Dion and Anrea Bocelli singing The Prayer (, or Jackie Evancho singing “O Holy Night” (, or Carrie Underwood singing “How Great Thou Art.”  (, my spirit can always be lifted up.

Carrie singing “How Great Thou Art”

My heart tingles every time I listen to these songs.  If you haven’t heard these specific versions of these songs by these specific artists, you are missing out.  Go there now and be inspired.

I listen to powerful and moving stories.

These are stories about underdogs overcoming huge obstacles.  Two that I’ve listened to dozens of times on Youtube are Susan Boyle ( and Jonathan & Charlotte (  It’s almost impossible for me to only watch them only one time in a sitting.  They restore my hope.

I listen to audio books.

With my subscription to I can download the books onto my smartphone or mp3 player and listen to them as I workout or travel.  I’ve just finished listening to an excellent book by David Allen called “Getting Things Done.”  It is about getting organized.

This was my sixth time to listen to it in the past two years.  Each time, it inspires me to take proactive steps to become more efficient and effective.  I always come back inspired.

If you don’t want to pay for a service, you can download sermons or talks from the internet.  I sometimes listen to podcasts from Rick Atchley at “The Hills” church ( These presentations are also available in video format at that site.  There are thousands of other podcasts available from other speakers that can be accessed with a little internet searching.  There is something for every taste and need.

I also have a Bible application on my smart phone which will let me read or listen to the Bible as I travel or workout.  It has several pre-programmed options for me to choose from—like a daily schedule to get the Bible read in a year.  It is a free application which can be downloaded from  It works on a smartphone, computer or tablet.  It’s a great resource for hearing God’s word on a regular basis.

I subscribe to free online newsletters.

These deepen my knowledge and broaden my thinking.  As a writer I subscribe to Jeff Goins ( and Michael Hyatt ( as well as about ten or more other sites covering anything from leadership to inspiration to technology development.  These provide me with a lot of reading material that keep me focused, growing and inspired.  An inspired and focused mind seldom gets discouraged.

I keep positive quotes and reminders in front of me at all times–like sticky-notes attached to my computer monitor.  Some of my favorites are:

  1. “Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.”
  2. “It matters that I produce today.” Michael Hyatt
  3. “To acquire knowledge one must study.  To acquire wisdom one must observe.”  Marilyn Vos Savant
  4. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11,  and,
  5. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

There are dozens more posted on my bulletin board along with pictures of my grandkids and others.  These pictures are important reminders of what matters to me and why I should work toward making this world a better place–to make a difference.

Life is so full of obstacles that can bring us down.  But it is also full of things that can inspire and encourage us in spite of the obstacles.   The good thing about it is that we get to choose where we place our focus.  I choose to focus on positive, uplifting, inspiring things that keep me going strong.  As I’ve said before, “My being discouraged does not do anything about making the world a better place.”

Perhaps you have some additional ways to overcome discouragement.  Please share those ideas for the benefit of us all by commenting below. May God bless you as you make a difference in the lives you cross today!  Dennis

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Copyright © 2012, Dennis Ensor, all rights reserved. Read more from Dennis Ensor at &

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