Rebranding Frustration

I’ve been feeling frustrated this morning. I’m learning the outward signs of my frustration include low grade anxiety accompanied by berating myself and procrastination. (I honed in on this by doing a Daily Mood Log from Dr. David Burns).

This morning my procrastination took the form of cracking open my notes to Daniel Coyle’s “Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for improving your skills.  (It also took the form of a two hour binge of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). Scanning through the file I landed on a note about “The Sweet Spot,” the zone in which we gain the most skill from our practice efforts.  One assumes you’d like to get as much gain from your efforts as possible.

First, there are two other zones you might find yourself in. We’re aiming to get to “The Comfort Zone” which is when we are successful in our efforts more than 80% of the time.  It’s marked by a feeling of effortlessness.

There’s also the “Survival Zone,” when we succeed less than 50% of the time and feel overwhelmed and outmatched.  Probably want to find ways to avoid that zone.

The Sweet Spot, like Goldilocks, is right in the middle. It has a success range is 50 – 80%.

And it’s marked by feelings of . . .

Frustration, (as well as alertness to errors, and engagement with the task at hand).  

Eureka!  Frustration can be a marker of success. Frustration can tell us we’re in the right place, at the right time.  

For many of us, we focus a lot on avoiding frustration, getting away from it. That’s understandable.  Frustration sucks. But frustration coupled with engagement and alertness is a sign of growth. It’s a sign of the sweet spot.  It could be something to seek out. And to be honest, once we’re engaged with something it isn’t exactly frustrating anymore. So let’s rebrand. How about Funstration?  

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