Monday, May 16, 2016

Do you ever feel frustrated?

If you're reading this post, I know you answered yes to the title question. The truth is that everyone gets frustrated some of the time. It's that feeling you get when you are anxious to move forward and you're not, or when you've let someone push the same button for the thousandth time, or when you hear the voice in your head telling you that you deserve the roadblocks you're facing.

Frustration sucks.

But here's a different question: are you finished being frustrated yet?  And the answer to that might be more complicated than you think. You might want to hang in there with your frustration until it gives you a strength or an insight that you need.

You don't have to be a Jew or a Christian to appreciate the story of Jacob - one of our great stories of frustration. He was not the eldest son (automatic frustration in a system where the eldest son gets the lion's share of opportunity and inheritance). He worked 7 years for the right to marry a beautiful girl only to be tricked into marrying her sister (and agreeing to work another 7 years). And in the middle of an uneasy journey back to his homeland, his way is blocked by an angel who dislocates Jacob's hip.

Jacob doesn't quit. He doesn't let go until the angel promises him a blessing.

If frustration hasn't given you a blessing yet, maybe it's not time to move one. Maybe it's time to hold on. Maybe the resources you need are not the ones that let you move, but the ones that let you wrestle with uncertainty until you find the unexpected opportunity it holds.

If this seems like "just a story," consult your own experience. Think of a time when you quit something because you were frustrated (music lessons? a sport? a job?) and later regretted quitting so soon.  If you look, you'll find that you've given up too early more than once.

Now think of the time you were frustrated and tired and overwhelmed and you held on until something good came of the whole mess. How did you do that? How did you overcome both frustration and logic to create an opportunity?

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