The Hidden Meaning Behind Frustration

Published on: April 7, 2011

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“Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.” – Bo Bennett

I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been frustrated over the years. Frustration has reared its ugly head on numerous occasions, when I least expected it. These days, I feel its presence when I step out of my comfort zone. It reminds me to remain calm, aware and diligent in the pursuit of my goal.

Frustration is a healthy sign of progress, despite the accompanying emotion. It denotes a level of growth in working toward your goal. It means you’re getting closer to achieving the vision or goal you set out to. Frustration advises you to remain poised and firm in your pursuit. Often people give it up when frustration hits, believing their goal is far from achievable, given outward appearances.

I usually go harder at this point, affirming that I mean business. I will not give up until I achieve my goal. I adopt a no holds barred approach. You may be tested along your life’s path to see how much you really want your goal. The universe will cast obstacles in your path to thwart your chances of success. How do you know when you’re being tested? You don’t. You can only be guided by the inner passion and conviction of your desires, stopping at nothing to achieve them.

The best advice if you’re experiencing frustration. Raise the bar, each and every time life throws you a lemon. Don’t just make lemonade – that’s a cliché line used too often. Instead, make the best lemon meringue ever. Turn the lemons into gold bullions! Show life you mean business with your actions, not your lack of.

Often frustration is a signpost advising you not to abandon hope and faith. It’s not meant to stop your progress. It’s a small speed hump suggesting you get organised, creative and excited in order to approach your goal with enthusiasm.

I am currently experiencing frustration with my speaking roles. I want to be performing more and frustrated that I’m not where I want to be. I find myself in a child-like state begrudging it, complaining and whinging at times. Once settled, I find an inner urge, a hunger and appetite that no one can stop. I will stop at nothing to achieve my goal. I note that frustration has taught me to remain inspired enthusiastic, courageous and persistent.

Frustration may also be inviting you to remain patient. This is the most challenging phase. You want to achieve that goal NOW! That might equate to losing weight or looking amazing in that outfit/suit. You want that dream car, the dream job, the perfect romantic partner or getting the best grades at school/university.

The process of life means growing as a person in the attainment of the goal. Health is a process, not an event. You learn to become someone fit and healthy. I am continually learning and discovering new things. I am far more confident in my ability to remain fit and healthy than in my twenties. I made numerous mistakes over the years to know what works best for me. Most importantly, I grew from those mistakes, learning valuable lessons along the way which I now share with others.

The following are suggestions for dealing with frustration. The truth is you’re allowed to be frustrated. It’s healthy to feel the emotion. It’s important you channel it in a positive direction to realise your full potential.

“Frustration is a sign I am acting independently. The more you try your own way, the tighter the doors will stay closed.” – Joyce Meyer

1.    Feel the frustration – How does frustration feel? Where do you feel it in your body when it surfaces? What does it look like in your mind? There is no need to deal with it yet. Be with it and see what it is asking you to do. Becoming familiar with your emotions is a positive step toward uncovering the hidden meaning behind them.

2.    Assess your goals – I’m not suggested you abandon you goals. Much like an airline pilot who’s continually plotting his course toward his destination, you should be doing the same thing. Do you really want this goal? If so, why? What would it give you or allow you to become if you had it?

3.    Get organised & savvy – Now that you’ve felt the frustration and assessed your goal, it’s time to get organised. This may mean being clear in your mind on how you intend to achieve the goal or what route you take to get there.

4.    Seek advice – enlist the advice of those who’ve charted a similar path. Become inquisitive and curious about how their journey. Remember, it is their path and not yours so use discrimination in how you plot yours. Use the advice which feels right for you.

5.    Make mistakes – go out there and make heaps of mistakes. My business mentor calls it ‘failing fast.’ His advice is to make mistakes which have little effect toward your goal. Give it a go and if it doesn’t work, learn from the mistake quickly. Get back on the horse and proceed in the same direction – forward!

6.    Act with confidence – Develop that ‘go get em’ attitude. You know, the same attitude as your family pet dog has when you’re wrestling that bone or toy from their mouth. They refuse to let it go remaining tenacious in their quest. Adopt the same ‘attitude,’ since that’s part of the victory.

7.    Take some time away – While I suggested earlier in the article being tenacious, it’s important to take some time off on occasions. Time off means, time away from the pursuing the goal. By allowing your mind to take a mini vacation you’re in a better position to revisit it with greater mental clarity.

8.    Reward yourself – Do something for yourself as reward for your efforts. I recently upgraded the components on my bike for all the long hours I’ve spent over the past year. It felt good to give myself something, instead of insisting on working harder. I know I’ll have more fun riding my bike and it serves as a pleasant reminder for my efforts.

Appreciate that frustration is part and parcel of your journey toward your goal. The greater the goal; the greater the frustrations that come with it. Accept them by reframing them in your mind. See them as stepping stones, not obstacles. Move through it, not around it. Keep at it until you realise the goal, since there’s nothing more satisfying than reaching a goal that once appeared unattainable.

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2 Responses to The Hidden Meaning Behind Frustration

  1. Arthur says:

    Thanks a lot for the amazing post, Tony! I feel exactly the same as a startup founder, but now I realize I have to look at furdtration as an essential part of my journey. Thanks again for the post, and keep up the great work with running your website! 🙂

    • Thanks Arthur. Yes, frustration can be unbearable when caught in the midst of it, yet if we can embrace the lessons, we are well equipped to heed the wisdom it imparts. All the best, Tony

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