Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes
Back in 1995, when I had a graphic design business, I wanted to use the Internet to share designs with customers. At the time, however, there were only a few “companies” offering web hosting. The first company I went with took my money and ran; the second company’s server was only up for about 3 hours a day; and the third company’s server was so complex, it took me hours just to upload a photo and make some basic edits to a web page. Out of total frustration, I committed the next six months of my life to learn all I could about Internet programming and hosting so I could do it myself, the right way. This was the beginning of Adgrafix, the company that I would eventually sell for 20 million dollars.
Frustration is such a powerful feeling that we automatically determine it to be negative. We call it negative because it generally does not make us feel very good. Frustration is the feeling that accompanies the experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals. This feeling, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success. Frustration is energy that can be positive or negative, depending on what you do with it. Misdirected frustration wasted on cursing, taking it out on others or kicking the computer is like running the air conditioner with all the windows open—a complete waste of energy.
Why should we welcome frustration, a feeling that is almost always painful? Here are a few main reasons:
- Pain, especially emotional, can be a major self-motivator. When motivating ourselves, the need to avoid pain often gets more results than the desire to gain pleasure. We can use this frustration to change what is not working in our lives. It is this constant change, with the desire to reach an end goal, which is known as persistence.
- Frustration gives us emotion and energy to take action. There are usually many things to do on the average “to do” list. However, it is usually those items on the list that cause frustration that get done first.
- Frustration makes our mind search for alternative action. There is a thought process of which you may not even be aware; it is the process of searching for alternative actions when you feel frustrated. Frustration usually occurs because, at the time, no suitable alternatives can be found. However, remember that despite your conscious mind’s inability to present to you a suitable alternative (I don’t consider cursing or kicking the computer suitable), your subconscious mind is still busy searching. Trust your own subconscious mind to find the solution for which you are looking.
There are two primary ways to harness the power of frustration and use it as positive energy. The first way is to release the frustration physically. Frustration is a powerful motivator for exercise. Running and lifting weights are ways to use the frustration to help burn calories and get in shape, although unlikely to relieve the frustration. The second primary way to harness the power of frustration is to release it mentally. This is the sometimes agonizing process of changing actions and behaviors, searching for alternatives, and just pure perseverance. However, it is this process that led to many of the greatest achievements in history.
Frustration is not bad. It may not feel too good at the time, but once you understand the power of frustration and the incredibly positive effects it can have, you will begin to use frustration to your advantage by bringing yourself closer to success. So next time you are about to kick the computer, kick a heavy bag instead or better yet, kick-start your mind and turn frustration into success.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)