Why disappointment can be a powerful teacher


I baked bread last night; ciabatta (if you’re interested). I was testing a different recipe, to see if the result would produce bread that was even better than the one I’ve made before. I was disappointed.

What has left this situation lingering in my mind however, is not the disappointing outcome itself, but the fact that it wasn’t a surprise. I saw it coming. I didn’t use the right mixer and probably hadn’t mixed the dough long, or thoroughly enough. Consequently the batter didn’t bubble up as expected, and then didn’t rise the way it should. I knew what was coming. It wasn’t the recipe, it was me.

Yes I know, it was ciabatta, it’s hardly life or death, but it made me think about a few other areas of my life that have left me feeling disappointed recently and whether I could or should have seen those disappointments coming too.

One of the areas I’ve really struggled with, is how I feel about writing. I had a perfectly good recipe for success when I was writing for myself. It was unpublished and deeply personal. I wrote what I thought, my feelings, my opinions and my dreams.

Pressing a ‘publish’ button was like changing the recipe. I got nervous about and critical of everything that fell onto the page. Rather than sharing my experiences in their rawest form, in the hope that they might help others move on in a positive way, I’ve become caught up in word count, structure, followers and likes. It became less about what I have to say and more about what you might say about me.


“When you are up to your ass in alligators, it’s easy to forget you came to drain the swamp.”

Time for a ‘swamp review’ in various parts of my life. Disappointment can be a powerful teacher, when we’re ready to learn.



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