Not feeling in the driver seat of your own career and overwhelmed with feelings of loss of control? Frustration stems from high expectations with insignificant outcome. If you are facing career frustration, it might be a good sign it is time for you to seek growth in new venues.
“Don’t be frustrated! Everything will turn out fine, your work is recognized”. My manager gave me this advice when I felt frustrated after being overlooked for a couple of career opportunities I have been working hardly and passionately for. While the advice was given with the intent of comforting me, it had me thinking. Why is frustration considered a negative feeling that should be avoided? Perhaps, feeling frustrated is the instinct that presses you to take action to adjust your sails and to embrace and deal with reality rather than plunge into sadness or be full of rage. May be comfort is the last thing I need.
Frustration can Induce Happy Chemicals
The academic definition of Frustration: Frustration occurs when an individual continues an action in the expectation of the gratification or desired goal but does not actually attain it (Dollard et al., 1939; Berkowitz, 1989; Anderson and Bushman, 2002). By definition, frustration is associated with expectations and goals.
The Human brain releases happy chemicals when we overcome obstacles. Unhappy chemicals can also help us find ways to feel good again. Human brain can thrive on frustrations, a quality we share with monkeys. An interesting article written about frustrations in monkeys: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-neurochemical-self/201409/how-make-frustration-work-you
“Persistence guarantees that results are inevitable” Nice quote for a sweet pep talk, huh?
The reality is nothing in guaranteed in life. Your persistence technique might be flawed, or you might be wasting your energy on the wrong goal. Feeling deeply frustrated will help you decide when to stop. It’s a blessing in disguise. Honor it!
To overcome frustration, our brains are wired to figure out rescue plans (Plan B’s) and finding new alternatives. Invest some time in devising one(s). Use your disappointment to fuel your self-awareness and understand what you want and what you don’t want. Use your frustration as a vehicle to find new opportunities.
Start by this exercise, I found it’s helpful in releasing some stress and providing a feeling of control: Write down a list of what you want and what you stand for. Eliminate what you don’t want will give you a sense of direction. Use this list to conduce setting your own self-goal which I will write about later.