Photo credit: Gabriel Matula – “Unsplash”

Recently, I decided to take up a new endeavour – an exercise in futility, as I have come to recognize it.  The very undertaking of the task itself, has inherent to it, an assumed level of associated frustration with the acquisition and subsequent execution of both technical and strategic skill sets.   And I have indeed experienced my first, and, hopefully simultaneously last encounter as well, with frustration.  Surprisingly however, the frustration arose not from a lack of either technical or strategic ability but from an etymological failing – that is, an inability to grasp an auditory cue as a result of the novelty of jargon surrounding this particular activity.

Who’s to blame? Me – for not learning the skills, techniques, strategy and language fast enough or the individual providing the cue for not creating a value in association to the words so as to expedite the desired execution of a specific technique or particular strategy?


Is there no blame to be assigned?  Could this simply be an opportunity created by a specific experience to deep dive my own psychology around a task and hopefully come out the other side, better.

Frustration, or any perceptibly palatable negative emotion for that matter, for me is the only catalyst needed to justify going for a deep introspective dive and subsequent grappling match with my emotional demons.  The type of admittedly impulsive, emotional trigger, that would drive an individual into the black abyss that is oft typical of a guilty debaucherous 3am YouTube video spiral into complete and utter irrelevance.

When you examine the situation and associated frustration with it through a deeper lens, a lens absent of ego, it becomes quite clear that the experienced levels of frustration revolve predominantly around the conflict between my expectations of how I believe a job, specifically coaching in this instance, is to be performed and how that task is actually being performed by someone other than me – and therein, lies the rub.  The emotion, frustration in this specific instance, is anchored by the ego and a first person narrative driven by the word: “I”.  What are expectations after all, if not the bane of our ability to interact with an experience purely and the root of all future potential for disappointment?

However, in certain circumstances, when frustration surrounding expectations around an experience itself are tempered with both conscious and conscientious thought, to the arguable extent of intention, devoid of emotion, absent of ego – these conscious deliberate constructs can serve to aid in the development and refinement of a set of governing standards that we could call: principles or values.  However, for the purposes of this micro-essay allow me the latitude to draw an extension on the synonymous parallel between the words standards, principles and values and instead use a more powerful and all-encompassing term: Code of Conduct.

This engagement with frustration is only the most recent encounter among a myriad of experiences throughout my life that have served to, if nothing else, reinforce the following narrative:  often, the root of my own discord with an external experience is resultant of the friction created when my governing code of conduct is juxtaposed to, and out-of-sorts with, an experience or people.

What then?  How do we avoid consistently being frustrated, let down and dissatisfied with the world around us?

From a 30 000ft view there are two possible reactions to an event that is at odds with our Code: we could regress and hang the responsibility for our own frustration on the external environmental trigger itself, whether that trigger be a person or experience.  Which seems just as ridiculous typing as it does reading back as there is no power in this position nor opportunity to advance and make progress – to grow.


We take ownership over the experience and our interaction with it.  In this vein, we recognize and acknowledge our power to choose either to react, which is often rooted in impulse and emotion – regressing to a child state or we can choose to respond which is connotative of the power within our choice to take premeditated, deliberate action or a series of actions.

It takes exposure and time, the perfect storm as it were, to develop the appropriate response to a given situation as opposed to being a victim to circumstance and simply reacting.  I mean, you can only put your hand in the mouth of a gator so many times before s/he bites down.  And, it may very well be, that that pain, the type of pain that can alter you, is very much needed and will serve to inform you of the urgency with which you either need to change your environment, change your code or your response(s) to your environment as it is governed by your code.

Frus•tra•tion and by-and-large a vast majority of other “negative” emotions you experience in life, are well within your power to control.  Take ownership over how you experience life:  Change your environment.  Edit and re-edit your Code so that it is of service to you and how you engage and interact with the world around you.  Change your response.  NEVER REACT.