Don’t Be Discourage

Esteemed subscribers,

I regularly receive wonderful words of inspiration from your fellows and every now and again have the chance to share them. This particular post came from my talented sister-in-law, Kate Porfilio. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Don’t Be Discourage
by Kate Porfilio

Jazz musician, Wynton Marsalis, had a great uncle who cut stone for a New Orleans cemetery. On a small stone, he engraved the words, “Don’t Be Discourage.” He ran out of room for the last D. However, Marsalis, who still has the stone, said he likes it that way, as it keeps it in the present tense.*

I smiled when I read this story today in the Wall Street Journal and began to wonder about this man who took the time to carve those letters on a stone so many years ago. What seems like a simple act, has in fact, been quite influential. Not only to Marsalis personally, but it’s now published in a newspaper that has an circulation of over 2 million people.

Why did he carve those words? There are other sequences of encouraging words to choose from: Smile, pass it on; dive into your dreams; let yourself shine, the power of now, etc. Although we may never know his reasons, I would venture to say, that his advice is worth more than almost any other three words put together (with or without the D).

Discouragement is a cruel master. We face it at every turn, whether it has taken hold in our own heart or we’ve had to watch it destroy those around us. There are those who even seek to sow the seeds of discouragement in others, knowing full well that once it grows, they will have relinquished their power and influence.

What’s to be done? I would do what the stone cutter did. I would carve those words in my heart, in the hearts of all of those whom I love and anyone else who has been a victim of anything that tries to defeat love, hope and life.

Besides my figurative carving skills, it comes down to one simple thing. Choice. No matter what has happened to us in the past, we have a choice right now to listen to those three words. You’re not alone. I, for one am with you, and there are many others. Do it. You won’t lose anything that matters – I promise.

Be courageous. Live in the present tense.

*Wall Street Journal, Jazzy Wynton Marsalis (from an interview by Darrell Hartman)

10 thoughts on “Don’t Be Discourage

  • Thanks for sharing Kate’s piece. It is a powerful call of needed encouragement and protection to say “Do not be discourage(d)” to ourselves, those we know and even those many more we may not know. It is awesome to join you both in that resolution this morning and to be the beacon of righteous encouragement!

  • Discouragement is admitting that you no longer have any options in the present circumstance, which is never true (and anyone who has been reading this blog regularly should know this). Just like Wynton Marsalis’s attitude toward the missing “d”, it is never wise to focus on what is wrong about something, but rather to see the potential of what could be right. Don’t disparage the missing “d”, but rather enjoy that the word is now present tense, and therefore more relevant. Thanks for the great post Kate!

  • Wonderful post, thank you. Discouragement has been the final blow to many attempts at something new or different. The word says it all, dis-courage. It’s when our courage wanes that this powerful opiate like, stupefying state can over whelm. Encouragement is the exact opposite it incites courage, it’s a kindness that can bridge an effort to success.

  • One way that I have learned to effectively deal with discouragement is to, when the temptation hits, remember my purpose. That is one of the values of identifying your purpose – it assists you in resisting being discourage(d).

    One of my greatest influences, Earl Nightingale, had a five minute recording on discouragement. I recommend listening to it any time you start to feel discouraged about something, or recommend it to another person to assist them.

    Thanks Kate for sharing.

  • Excellent piece Kate!
    I was recently having dinner with another family, 2 highschool aged children mom & dad, and this feeling of agitation started to well up inside me as I listened to their conversation. In the hour I spent with them not one word of encouragement was shared – the whole conversation was one family member ragging on another. I thought how could they be so rough on each other – “show me the love”! This was a stark example for me of how we keep each other down, focusing on everything that was wrong….it physically hurt to be a part of it.
    I learned from this experience is to take a look at the conversation I have with family, friends, and colleagues and ask myself, do I encourage or discourage. Words can be sharp tools that cut to the core. Do I choose my words wisely, and uplift others, offer encouragement, inspire hope and possibility? Or the opposite? Particularly with young children our words have an incredible impact that lasts! What is the message we send?
    While it was a painful experience in one hand, I’ve also been inspired by it to raise my own standards for myself and to always seek to be an inspiration, to be a beacon of inspiration hope and love.
    And Wynton Marsalis is excellent!
    Thanks again Kate ~

  • Awesome post Kate!
    We are always creating something, each moment….
    BE ENCOURAGE, let those round about be inspired, and blessed by our presence!
    Simple really, for the meditation of our heart and mind has immediate influence and impact on all around us.
    I Love the word encourage, for it describes the “ability to in-still” courage in those round about rather than the alternative, which is to usurp.
    Thanks, the choice is clear.

  • Something you said recently really stuck….
    the movement from seeking to be inspired to being inspiring.
    Which incidentally line’s up appropriately with todays consideration “Don’t be Discourage”.
    As with anything, if you are seeking to not do something, there is a complementary doing that needs to fill the void created from not doing. In this case, seeking to be encouraging would be the point.
    What would that look like?
    Well isn’t that the trick? For it’s easy to come up with a list of what discouragement would look like, especially if we’re in the habit of seeing lack and limitation, more than the abundance of opportunity to reveal the high road.
    The first thing that pops in my head (and heart) in this regard, is abiding in that place of peace, or as Gregg so wonderfully put it, the deep. For beneath the surface lies a wealth of abundance in inspiring consideration, and consequently when we are oriented as such, the presence that ensues is nothing short of that.
    Factual centering in, the spirit of thanksgiving, or creative appreciation, has a contagious effect.
    Like misery, on the other hand, which is said to love company. So too, and even more does the spirit of joy, which emerges from someone who is loves being present, and thankfully appreciating the opportunity for the privilege to be so.
    As Kate indicated so neatly today, it comes down to a simple choice, regardless of what has got us here there is a wealth of abundance from past failures and success’s that can easily be employed in consideration, to fill this present moment to overflowing, and then each one to follow…Be Encourage, let your light so shine that others might see your good works, and join in! Take up Courage and join the concert of others that are already doing so.
    I know you can over-come the tenacious habit to give weight to what’s lacking, and be yourself in revealing what’s present. And speaking of presents this is yours to open, enjoy, share and give freely to your world, as it now is.

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