Acting as if it were impossible to fail is the formula which turns us from frustration to success. – Unknown
Are You Feeling Frustrated?
Are you feeling frustrated? If you are then it probably means that your circumstances are not panning out as you had expected. You are being held back from what you want, and the solutions you are after seem just out of reach. You’re so close, yet still so far, and still very frustrated.
Your frustrations are significant because they indicate that you are being held back by self-imposed barriers, limitations, and habits. You are the reason why you’re feeling frustrated, and only you can break free from this cycle. If you fail to do this, then ongoing frustration can drastically inhibit your progress, which can result in pessimistic thinking and ultimately low self-esteem. Frustration can, in fact, immobilize your actions and your process of rational thinking — thereby leading to periods of indecision.
Ongoing frustration can also trigger the emotions of overwhelm, stress, and depression. You might even find that frustration creates impatience and causes you to become more aggressive and angry the longer you struggle with this emotion. If only you learned how to manage your frustrations in more productive ways, it could literally open a whole new world of possibilities.
Early Warning Triggers for Frustration
Before learning how to overcome moments of frustration, it’s important that you become aware of the early warning triggers of frustration. The earlier you take control of your frustrating thoughts, then the better off you will be in the long-run, and the more resourceful you will become when it comes to solving your life’s problems.
Externally your frustrations will manifest in some form of resistance. For instance, you might have been making some good progress up to this point, but then suddenly something happened which derailed your efforts. You understand you should be able to get through this obstacle or problem, however for one reason or another you can’t seem to fully control the circumstances, and this causes your frustrations. You’re simply not meeting your expectations, and as a result, you’re frustrated because you know you should be able to do a better job.
Internally your frustrations will manifest as responses to perceived inadequacies, weaknesses and limitations. You might, for instance, become frustrated because you feel somewhat incapable handling a problem. You feel incapable because you feel weak or inadequate in some way. You don’t feel as though you’re capable, and yet your initial expectations tell you otherwise. You will need to overcome these inadequacies or turn your weaknesses into strengths in order to get through this situation successfully.
The Benefits of Frustration
Frustration is just like any other painful emotion. On the surface it feels uncomfortable, however, below the surface it can be quite beneficial if directed in the right way.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of frustration. These benefits will help you to better understand the positive impact that frustration can have on your life.
Consider for instance that frustration is an instant motivator. Something you did didn’t quite work out as you had expected, and now you feel frustrated. You’re frustrated because you know you can solve this problem, however, everything you’ve tried so far just hasn’t worked out. Feeling frustrated is stimulating your motivation to keep trying until you get things right. If on the other hand, you felt disappointed or disheartened as a result of these circumstances, then that would automatically crush your motivation and hinder your progress. Therefore be grateful that you feel frustrated because it means that you still have the motivation you need to figure things out.
Feeling frustrated will also help stimulate your imagination and mobilize your senses. The reason why this happens is because your frustrations create internal dissatisfaction. You’re not happy about your circumstances, and yet you’re still determined to get things done. This automatically mobilizes your senses to try and spot something that you might have missed. This likewise stimulates your imagination to think of potential creative ideas you could use to solve your problem. You essentially switch to a problem-solving mode, where you begin thinking more creatively and critically about the situation you are facing.
When it comes to managing your frustrations, it’s absolutely critical that you stay positive and proactive throughout this process. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling sorry for yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself will deny you the opportunity to get through this frustration successfully. It will prevent you from seeing things clearly and making the most use of your time and resources.
One clear indication that you are beginning to feel sorry for yourself comes in the form of the kinds of questions you persistently ask yourself:
Why do things always go wrong?
Why does this always happen to me?
Why does everything always seem to be a struggle?
Asking these kinds of limiting questions will only dishearten you and throw doubt in your mind that will prevent you from moving forward successfully.
Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, look at ways you can successfully manage your frustrations to make them work for you rather than against you. Here is a four-step process that will help you to better manage your frustrations on a day-to-day basis:
Step 1: Identify Early Warning Triggers
Your first step is to identify the early warning triggers of frustration. Don’t allow frustration to sneak up on you. You must identify it early and quickly and then immediately begin working through this process to help you better manage this emotion.
Step 2: Gain Some Clarity
There are a few things you must clarify within this step. First, you must pinpoint the reasons why you are feeling frustrated. Ask yourself:
Why am I feeling frustrated?
How is what I am doing not working for me?
At times, your reasons for feeling frustrated might be very silly and strange. In fact, these reasons might even make you laugh. The laughter will immediately point you to a solution that you may have previously overlooked. However, at other times your frustrations will be justified, and as a result, you will need to look a little deeper into the situation you are dealing with. In such instances, continue asking yourself:
What is the underlying issue that is bothering me?
What is causing these feelings?
Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?
The final question is the key question you need to ask yourself. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution to this problem? At times you may find that you are in fact creating the problem that you are experiencing. You are therefore the cause of your frustrations. In such instances, all you will need to do is make the necessary adjustments in your approach to rectify the situation.
If you’ve determined that you’re not part of the problem, then it’s absolutely paramount that you now switch your focus to the potential opportunities that you might be able to take advantage of to help you solve this problem. Ask yourself:
What is actually working for me?
What opportunities exist that I could take advantage of?
What opportunities am I currently not seeing?
How could I shift my view of this situation to put myself in a better position to spot these opportunities?
Having identified potential opportunities, it’s now time to figure out how you will solve this problem and successfully move through this frustration. Ask yourself:
How can I think creatively about this situation?
How can I improve on what I’m doing?
How could I do things a little differently?
What small adjustments could I make that will help me work through this successfully?
Consider all your options and select your best path moving forward. However, keep in mind that you might need to experience a little more frustration before you completely figure things out. That’s perfectly okay. Learn from every attempt you make and adjust your course of action accordingly.
Step 3: Expand Your Horizons
If after moving through the second step you continue to make little progress, then you must take time to expand your horizons. First of all, try something radically different. Try a different approach that makes absolutely no sense. Who cares if it fails. The failure can potentially provide you with a new view of the situation, and this shift of perspective might be all you need to help move forward beyond this frustration.
Your frustrations might also linger because you simply don’t have the relevant knowledge or enough information at your disposal to get through this situation successfully. Therefore take some time to separate yourself from the frustration to acquire the relevant information and knowledge you need to move forward. Who knows, you might even need to fine-tune some of your skills in order to develop the necessary proficiency to get things accomplished successfully.
If all else fails, then look to others for support. Other people may very well provide you with unique insights and perspectives about the situation that will help you to see things in a new way. This can lead to new opportunities and resources that you weren’t previously aware of. All of these things can help you to better solve the problem you are working through.
Step 4: Stay Focused
This probably isn’t really a step, however, it’s important to note that throughout this process of working through your frustration, it’s paramount that you are disciplined, persistent and determined to get a positive outcome. Don’t get disheartened or think about quitting. Instead, encourage yourself to think more creatively — out of the box. Your creative efforts will not always pan out successfully, however, creativity is a numbers game. You will eventually come up with something that will help you find the solutions you are after to get through these moments of frustration. Just keep an open mind and a positive spirit. Everything else will take care of itself.
What to do in the Moment of Frustration
How you respond within the first few moments of frustration will determine how effectively and quickly you able to get through this frustration. If you respond appropriately to frustration, then you will quickly find the right path moving forward. On the other hand, if you become overwhelmed by frustration then you will fail to make the right choices and decisions that will help you to get through this situation successfully.
Here are some guidelines that will help you to respond to moments of frustration in helpful proactive ways:
Reframe Your Frustrations
Reframing means shifting your perspective about the situation. For example, you can either view frustration as something that is hindering your progress and preventing you from moving forward, or you can view frustration as an opportunity to figure out a better path moving forward that is likely to benefit you in the long-term.
One of the better ways to reframe your frustrations is to view them as nothing more than a challenge to help you improve yourself. See your frustrations as an opportunity to learn something new that will help you to lay down a better course of action moving forward.
Another way you could potentially reframe things is to view frustration in a different way. Instead of feeling frustrated, feel excited or get curious. Curiosity will encourage you to ask better questions and also help you learn from this experience.
View Events Differently
Similar to reframing, you can also take time to view the events and the situation you are dealing with somewhat differently than normal. Often you will become frustrated because you continue to see things as you’ve always seen things. And seeing things the same way every time will frustrate you because you end up trapped within the limitations of your own mind. You’re unable to see beyond your habitual patterns of thinking, and this keeps you stuck and going nowhere fast.
The moment frustration hits, you must immediately get yourself out of your mind and begin viewing the situation from a different perspective. For instance, instead of seeing things from your perspective, view things instead from a third person’s perspective. This person is looking in at what is going on and making their own judgments about the situation. Use this perspective to gain a wider understanding of what exactly is happening and what you could potentially do about it moving forward.
Alternatively, you could view things from the perspective of a specific person. For instance, how about Albert Einstein, or Walt Disney, or Richard Branson? Ask yourself:
How would Albert Einstein view your situation?
What advice would Walt Disney give me about this?
How would Richard Branson move through this successfully?
At other times, all it takes is a little humor. Humor will help relax you and potentially provide you with unique perspectives that will open doors to opportunities that you never even realized existed. Ask yourself:
What’s humorous about this situation?
What are some ways a comedian would make fun of this situation?
How would a clown make me laugh about this?
How does all this change my perspective about things?
Play around with different ways you could potentially view the situation. This will help you to stimulate your imagination. And who knows? It could even provide you with the perspective you need to move through this period of frustration successfully.
Focus on the Right Things
The moment frustration hits, it’s absolutely critical that you take control of how and where you focus your mind. You can either focus on things that will help you to get through this problem successfully, or you can focus on things that will keep you trapped and frustrated.
First of all, it’s important that you focus on what you want. Focus on solutions and the things that will help you move forward. Focus on what you want to achieve and have. In fact, take time to visualize the positive outcomes you would like to attain. This may help to settle your mind while providing a platform that could stimulate your imagination. While visualizing, ask yourself:
What is my desired outcome?
What’s happening now?
How should things be happening?
What do I need to do to get my desired outcome?
Having clarified what you want, now take immediate purposeful action that will help you to dig yourself out of these moments of frustration.
Detach Yourself Emotionally
When frustration takes a hold of you, it’s easy to get emotionally caught up in these circumstances. However, “easy” doesn’t mean it’s helpful. It’s actually never helpful to attach yourself emotionally to the situation or to your desired outcome. When you do this, you rob yourself of the opportunity to approach the situation in a flexible detached way that will help you to see things with greater clarity.
The moment frustration strikes, detach yourself emotionally from the situation. In fact, take time to detach yourself physically from the situation as well. Step back or away from the situation so that you can see things with more clarity. While there, identify what’s most important, re-prioritize your activities, and search for the silver lining. Ask yourself:
What’s most important here?
What should I focus on first?
Where’s the silver lining in all of this?
How can I best take advantage of this moment to help move myself forward?
Only through detachment will you gain the clarity you need to see things in a new light. And it’s only within this new light that you will be able to move through this frustration successfully.
How to Handle Frustration Long-term
Frustration is an ongoing part of life. You might not experience frustration today, however, sooner or later something won’t go as expected and you will experience that uncomfortable feeling of frustration in the pit of your stomach. These are the moments you must prepare for. Here are some suggestions:
Find Ways to Relax
Frustration can at times be very overwhelming. In fact, prolonged frustration can potentially lead to high levels of stress and other debilitating emotions. To avoid this trap, find ways to relax. Some people like to meditate, others like to get a message or hop into a hot steamy bath. And then there are some people, who relax by walking in nature or by exercising. It doesn’t really matter how you relax, as long as you are conscious of the options you have available to help relieve your frustrations.
Relaxation doesn’t mean that you are ignoring your problems. Relaxation actually allows you to separate yourself from your frustrations to help clear your mind. This clarify-of-mind could potentially provide you with the shift of perspective you need to move through your frustrations successfully.
Improve Your Organization Skills
There are incredible benefits derived from the act of learning how to organize your life. The act of organizing your environment can noticeably help you to improve your levels of productivity. However, there is yet another benefit that can be derived from the habit of staying organized.
When you have a clear, structured and organized environment, then you also have a clear, structured and organized life, and as a result, you have a clear, structured and organized mind. When you’re organized you think about things differently, and as a result, you will approach your frustrations in a more structured and organized way. This can help you to think more clearly and effectively about the frustrating events and circumstances of your life. Likewise, it can also help you to overcome your frustrations with greater ease.
All of this comes back to simplification. Spend time simplifying your life, your actions, your behaviors, your decisions and your thought process. Often your frustrations will build-up because your life is just too complicated. There are so many things happening, and you just can’t see the forest for the trees. No wonder you’re frustrated. Taking time to simplify your life will help to minimize the impact of frustration.
Collect the Necessary Resources
There are certain things in life that are certain. You will eventually die, you will pay taxes, and you will need to deal with ongoing problems. In fact, you are dealing with problems on a daily basis. Some of them you have a relatively good grasp of, while others are still a work in progress.
In order to handle frustration in the long-term, you must identify what kind of problems you are likely to face in the future, and then figure out what resources you might need, e.g. knowledge, skills, money, support, etc. to help you solve these problems successfully.
The time you spend preparing for future problems will help you to better manage your frustrations when these problems show up in your life. Ask yourself:
What kinds of problems am I currently facing?
What kinds of problems am I likely to face in the future?
What resources might I need to acquire to help me deal with these problems successfully?
The more you know; the better skills you have; the more support and money you can access; the higher quality tools you have at your disposal; then the better prepared you will be for whatever life throws your way. And better preparation will lead to less frustration in the long-term. When you know what to do and how to do it, you will never have a need to become frustrated ever again.
Improve Your Creativity
When it comes to handling frustration long-term, there is one key skill that will give you the edge you need to overcome any problem you face. That skill is creativity.
Challenge yourself to improve your creative thinking skills on a daily basis by reading books, by brainstorming ideas, and by speaking with creative people to find out how they solve their problems and get through their personal frustrations. The answers you find will help you to work through your own frustrations in much more effective and enjoyable ways. Who knows? Maybe frustration will one day become a very enjoyable part of your life as you realize that it’s nothing more than an opportunity for you to express yourself creatively.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Would you like to optimize how you think about this topic? Would you like a method for applying these ideas to your life?
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 4 Tips to Deal with Frustrating People @ Psychology Today
- 4 Ways to Unlock Yourself from Chronic Frustration @ Pick the Brain
- 10 Steps to Overcoming Frustration @ Psych Central
- 33 Ways to Overcome Frustration @ Dragos Roua
- Feeling Frustrated? How to Stand Up for What You Need at Work @ Forbes
- How Frustration Can Turn into a Powerful Tool @ LinkedIn
- How to be Free of Frustration @ Steve Pavlina
- How to Manage Frustration @ Psychology Today
- The 5 Most Common Frustrations of an Entrepreneur @ Forbes
- The Frustration Barrier: The Key Obstacle to Being Good at Anything @ Scott H. Young