For most people, dealing with personal discouragement is tough. Discouragement can drag you down quickly unless you learn to deal with it in a positive manner.

At a young age, I realized that everyone I know faces some form of discouragement in life. I also noticed that a person could control how discouragement affected his or her life. By the time I reached high school, I had decided that in the face of discouragement, I would remind myself, “I am not easily discouraged.” It was amazing how that helped me through difficult times.

Overcoming discouragement is a often a topic when I speak to young people, and I like to tell them this story:

When I was a teenager, during the fabulous fifties, my friends and I visited drive-in restaurants several evenings during the week. That really was a popular thing to do; it was much like a scene from the movies American Graffiti and Grease.

A friend of mine was dating a girl from Brown High School, a school not far from ours. We frequently spotted a gray Buick full of girls from Brown at a drive-in called Uncle Tom’s. My friend’s girlfriend and her sister, Oleta McKibben, were usually in that car. Oleta was the prettiest of those Brown High girls! She was spunky, and I liked her.

Oleta & Jimmy, 06-06-54-1

Immediately, however, I faced discouragement. Oleta did not like me! Even though I tried my best to turn on the charm and my most likable personality, nothing seemed to work with her. She was not impressed.

I wanted Oleta to go out with me, but I suspected she might turn me down. I did not want to face outright rejection, so I asked a friend of hers to check and see whether Oleta would say yes if I asked her out. Her friend came back with, “She is not interested.”

I really liked Oleta and did not want to give up, so I asked my friend who was dating Oleta’s sister to see if he could arrange a double date with Oleta and me. Again, the word came back, “She is not interested.”

Then I learned that she was having a birthday party. I was certain I could find a way to get invited. I asked her sister to get me an invitation. Just like before, the word was, “She is not interested.”

Well, I reminded myself that I am not easily discouraged, so I went anyway!

The next weekend, on June 6, 1954, we had our first date. After that day, I never dated another girl. For over sixty years, Oleta has been the most important person in my life, my most trusted adviser, my greatest encourager, and my wife.

I have often thought how different my life would have been if I had become discouraged, had given up and had not gone uninvited to that birthday party. I think of how much I would have missed and how less fulfilling my life would have been!

It would be impossible to count how many times I have reminded myself, “I am not easily discouraged.” This reminder has become a Creative Followership Principle.

Do Not Be Easily Discouraged

It is a Principle that has affected my life positively more times than I can count. There have been occasions when I used it several times during a single week.

It is my choice; I will not be easily discouraged.

It could be your choice!

Jimmy Collins

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