Disgust, Dissatisfaction, and Determination: Fuel for Growth

Skip Prichard, President & CEO at OCLC, WSJ Bestselling Author The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future, OCLC  University of Baltimore School of Law, Dublin, Ohio, United States

Posted on January 8, 2024 | 3 min read (759 words)

Understanding the Power of Uncomfortable Emotions

I was having a conversation with a colleague that was negative. Positive thinking gurus would not have approved. We veered into areas that made us unhappy … others that dragged us into drudgery … before launching into a litany of things that were simply driving us crazy. That person actually approached me the following day, apologizing for being negative.

But I stopped the conversation and said it was a fantastic meeting. I was not depressed by the conversation. I was motivated by it.

Often the biggest galvanizer of change is the realization that things must change. That often happens after honest reflection. It happens when we say “enough.”

I know of someone who looked in the mirror and said the word “disgusting.” Though this person was far from disgusting, and this seems an over-the-top response, it motivated a lifelong health journey that transformed an entire family. This person said “enough” and changed everything.

Disgust and dissatisfaction are feelings, though uncomfortable, can be the very catalysts we need for profound personal and professional growth. Emotions that unsettle us can often be misunderstood. However, they have an intrinsic power that can lead to significant change and improvement.

And, while disgust and dissatisfaction can be powerful initial motivators for change, we need to transition from these negative emotions to a more positive mindset eventually. Lingering too long in a state of discontent can lead to cynicism and burnout. The key is to acknowledge and use these emotions as a starting point, then shift towards a constructive and optimistic outlook.

This positive perspective fuels resilience, opens creative solutions, and ultimately drives sustained personal and professional development.

The Role of Disgust and Dissatisfaction

Imagine you’re in a job that no longer fulfills you. Every morning, the alarm goes off, and there’s a sense of dread. That’s dissatisfaction talking. It’s your inner voice saying, “You deserve better.” This feeling can be the first step towards exploring new opportunities that align more closely with your passions and skills.

Disgust, on the other hand, is often more visceral. It’s the feeling you get when you see something fundamentally wrong or unethical. It could be a practice in your workplace that goes against your core values. This emotion can be a powerful motivator to instigate change, either by addressing the issue head-on or by moving to an environment that better reflects your moral compass.

 Dissatisfaction is the whisper that says: You deserve better

Determination: Turning Emotions into Actions

Here’s where determination comes into play. Determination is the bridge between feeling something and doing something about it. It’s the resolve to not only recognize these emotions but to act on them.

Let’s take Sarah, a finance executive I met through social media. Sarah was increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of creativity in her job. Instead of allowing this dissatisfaction to fester into resentment, she used it as a fuel to seek out new challenges. She enrolled in a creative writing course, which not only rekindled her passion for creativity but also opened doors to new career opportunities. She found that her current job was more enjoyable after changing her approach.

 Determination is the bridge between feeling and action

Embracing Discomfort for Growth

The journey of turning these emotions into positive outcomes is not always smooth. It requires a willingness to sit with discomfort and to honestly evaluate our current situations. It involves asking tough questions: Why am I feeling this way? What can I learn from these emotions? How can I use them to better myself or my situation?

 Key Takeaways

Listen to Your Emotions: Disgust and dissatisfaction are not just negative emotions to be avoided; they are indicators that something needs to change.

Embrace Discomfort for Growth: Growth often comes from discomfort. Embrace these feelings as signs that you’re ready for the next step in your personal or professional life.

Turn Feelings into Action: Use determination to transform these emotions into positive change. Whether it’s seeking new opportunities, addressing issues, or developing new skills, let your emotions guide you towards constructive action.

So, the next time you feel a sense of disgust or dissatisfaction, remember that these emotions can be the very fuel needed for growth and change. It’s through recognizing, accepting, and acting on these feelings that we can truly transform our lives and careers for the better.

“That’s it” and “enough” can be just what you needed to change the course of your future.