Turning frustration into motivation

Dear Integral Meditators,

Frustration & friction are experiences we normally consider undesirable, but what if there were a way that we could start to take advantage of them? The article below considers how we might start to do this…

In the spirit of motivation,


Turning frustration into motivation

Last week I was feeling frustrated about the slow pace of a project that I was working on with colleagues. Although the work should have been simple to do, somehow all sorts of complications arose, both in the actual work and in our communication with each other. As I was experiencing this I noticed that there were two things coming up for me:

  1. The effort and friction coming simply from trying to work out a solution
  2. The frustration, emotional friction and resistance coming up inside me because the project was proving more difficult than I thought, and I did not want it to be difficult.

In this situation, I could see very clearly that there was no way to avoid the first part; I had to exert my effort and intelligence to patiently find solutions to the problems. However, I also started to see very clearly that the energy and effort that I was expending on feeling frustrated about what was happening was largely energy wasted.
Often emotional friction and frustration are a substantial drain on our energy. This is not necessary, but in order to avoid it we need to learn how to transform the friction into motivation. I’m going to outline how to do this in three simple stages; accepting, releasing and transforming.

Stage 1 – Accepting – Seeing and accepting frustration 
When we find ourself frustrated with and fighting our reality, the first thing we need to do is see what is happening, and accept the fact that we may be frustrated and upset. In the case above I needed to see and accept my resentment that things were not as easy as I wanted them to be.

Stage 2 – Releasing – Becoming ergonomic & working with what is there
Often the simple act of accepting our frustration enables us to let go of it, at least to a degree. This then frees our energy and intelligence to focus upon solving the actual problem at hand. To use my example above, by seeing and accepting my frustration I am able to start releasing it. I can then focus the energy that was previously trapped in my frustration toward simply solving the problems at hand. This gives me a quiet and stable patience, making me more effective at dealing with the issues.

Stage 3 – Transforming frustration into motivation
Stage two has already begun the transformation process; energy previously trapped in emotional frustration has been re-directed toward the task at hand. As we get better at this, we start to experience finding the solution to the challenge as a motivation that we can enjoy and delight in solving. Rather than feeling despondent and agitated, because we accept the difficulty patiently, we can be curious about how we may solve the problem. Difficulties no longer make us despondent and agitated, they make us motivated and determined.

So the next time you notice yourself frustrated with a situation, and stuck in a state of emotional friction, and wasting energy, you might like to see if you can mindfully apply this three stage process to your experience:

  1. Notice and accept your frustration
  2. Release your frustration so you can focus on the actual task at hand
  3. Finally, consciously re-direct the energy inside you trapped in frustration, transforming it into motivation and determination.

Becoming good at stage one is really the key that unlocks the door!

Related article: When Vulnerability Ceases to be a Problem – Three levels of self-confidence

© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com

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