Philosophy Phriday

Oops, nearly missed it:

One of the little life hacks I mentioned in the last Friday post (granted, 2 weeks back, mea maxima culpa, Om…) was frustration.

Frustration is a really neat life hack.  Wish I had figured this out years back.  Frustration is your sensor that tells you, “you’re rested, you’re energized, it’s time to get to work”.  If one is always surfing close to burn-out, one doesn’t get to feel frustration, only exhaustion.

When one starts out, frustration either teaches one to quit or to try again.  There are really only two types of person – the quitters and the rebooters.  If you quit, that’s really bad because you’ll have allowed your detractors to win – the people who said “you can’t do that” from the start.

Those Detractors

Let’s look at that more closely.  I used to have as my Skype status, “The one who says something can’t be done, should never interrupt the one doing it.”  You will get detractors for literally everything.  And they come from where you expect it least.  People who should be chomping at the bit with you in excitement about new ideas and projects.  Except that they don’t, because maybe in their minds, life is a competition and if you win at something (anything), somehow that takes away from their own shine.  Or maybe they are simply addicted to watching others fail at things and then crow, “I told you so”.  The compulsive know-it-all.

But, you have only ultimately failed when you give up trying.  So as you see, you can absolutely not afford to quit something you want to do.  You can only quit things you yourself have outgrown or put behind you.  For every idea you are trying out, there is someone out there who has already done it successfully.  It helps to look how they did it; that increases your chances of success.  I’m sure even Richard Branson had detractors.

What can one do about detractors?  Only a single thing:  Ignore them.  Shoosh them.  Unfollow their feed.  Mute them on your Twitter.  Protect yourself emotionally, because if you don’t, their criticism gets under your skin and starts eating you alive from the inside like maggots. And hollowed out, you won’t be much good.

So, Frustration.

Frustration comes in two shapes.  Frustration with other people, and frustration with your life.

The first one is tricky.  The best you can do is see it as a mirror, a reflection of what you want to eliminate from your life.  Let’s say, you’re frustrated with the misbehaving motorists in the traffic at 5pm, battling your way home.  What your frustration is really telling you is to make changes to your life so you can avoid the traffic.  This could mean negotiating with your boss that you come in earlier and leave correspondingly earlier, or later, depending.  Or, for instance, if a gossiping colleague frustrates you, you may decide to avoid her.  (Or him.  Men can gossip too.)  The details of how you solve it, are not the point.  The point is that you use the frustration as an indicator that something has to change.

Frustration with your life is easier to solve.  It’s simply a call to action.  Identify the one task that would make the biggest difference to your situation, then do that.  You will be amazed how good you feel if you do this consistently every time you get frustrated.

And again, if something you’re doing is frustrating you because it is not giving results, it is time to change the course of action.

That’s all my knee-deep philosophizing you’ll get today.  Really obvious stuff, actually.  Just, quite helpful to remember, I found.

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2 thoughts on “Philosophy Phriday

  1. Amazing indeed how liberating it is to work through frustration to completion. I have just been highly frustrated with a tricky format on a manuscript but I refused to let the software beat me. Boy, did it try! But now my foot is on its neck and it is squealing for mercy.

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