Frustration? Deal with it

Born of frustration

Do you ever have days where everything seems to be frustrating? Aye, so do I!

It’s easy to become discouraged when something unforeseen happens (‘why me?’), or when we seem to be going nowhere fast on a rat wheel (where is this heading?), and especially when someone acts differently to how we want or expect (‘how the heck could they do that?’).

With respect to the last point, over the past few years I’ve made a conscious effort to try to stand in the other person’s shoes before judging them too readily – it usually helps you to respond in a more reasonable fashion. Mostly.

Another cause of frustration, and one that is tough to deal with, is when something won’t seem to work for you (‘what is the answer?’), or you just can’t seem to overcome a challenge or get a task done.

Why is this happening to me?

Most readers of this blog will have experienced failure or even dabbling with the victim mentality or martyr syndrome at various points in their lives.

Generally people move on from outright failure in time, but before we can reach that elusive place called fulfilment we’ll all experience countless instances of frustration & fatigue (or inertia).

Frustration tends to eventuate when we have a clear sense of our goals or the direction we want to be moving in, but are lacking in decisive action & focus.

I most readily associate this feeling with life in the corporate world where meetings would seemingly drag on for hours, and hours…and hours, without anything of consequence ever being enacted. Arrrrrggggghhhh! Even just the thought of it makes me squeam.

Frustration, then, can often be driven by…all talk and no action!

How to deal with frustration

You know when you feel vexed or exasperated, but how to tackle the problem? Here are 3 steps for dealing with it:

(i) Identify the root cause – instead of allowing a nagging annoyance to persist, acknowledge it, & pinpoint the root cause;

(ii) Sharpen the focus – get clarity by analysing the irritation in more detail. Narrow in on it – how, specifically, will you know when the issue has been eliminated? Can you measure it & track progress? Do you need to learn more about the challenge to resolve it?; and

(iii) Decisive execution – write down the specific steps that need to be taken to vault the obstacle, when they need to undertaken, by whom, & how you will hold yourself accountable.

Don’t delude yourself that everything in life can run smoothly – it definitely can’t – so try not to waste energy on events & outcomes that are clearly outside your control.

The diagram above shows us that to get away from frustration and towards fulfilment, a combination of focus and execution is required to achieve your goals.

Frustration can be a positive signal – it may indicate that your brain knows you can do better & the solution to success is within your grasp – it may be that you just need to take focused, decisive actions.