0frustration.jpg

Undoing frustration

What is frustration?

It's defined as, "the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something."

It's often felt or spoken about one's own ability and often includes self-blame. But it can be directed outwardly, as when you're frustrated with your children for not getting their homework done on time.

Siblings

Frustration is quite similar to other thoughts and reactions.

  • Annoyance

  • Blame

  • Chafing

  • Disappointment

  • Drudgery

  • Guilt

  • Hot-tempered

  • Impatience

  • Irritability

  • Resentment

The mother of them all is expectation

As one type of thwarted expectation, frustration occurs when something is not progressing as quickly as planned or projected or a repeated attempt does not yet get the wanted results or something and/or someone shouldn't keep getting in the way.

As with all expectations, when we feel frustrated, it's because we have previously duped ourselves in two ways. 

  1. When undertaking the intention to get a certain result, we made some unwarranted assumptions about how it would or could turn out, ignoring our knowledge of the risks involved regarding the willingness and/or power of others and/or ourselves to get the desired result.

  2. We've decided that if we don't get the desired result, then it means that there is something wrong with us or something wrong with another or others.

Frustration is just a symptom of the underlying "disease" of our habit to indulge in expectations

The benefits and causes of the disease

As you know from reading Undoing expectations, we cash in on either one or two benefits from indulging in expectations.

  1. We can feel safer and more in control by "knowing" that something is going to happen or not going to happen.

  2. In the case of positive expectations, we can count our chickens before they hatch. Such delightful little fantasy chickens!

These cognitive biases are often co-conspirators in creating expectations which result in frustration

  • Agent bias

  • Availability bias

  • Certainty bias

  • Clustering illusion

  • Commitment bias

  • Confirmation bias

  • Dunning-Kruger effect​

  • Ego depletion

  • Exaggeration expectation

  • Fear of missing out

  • Gambler's fallacy​

  • Halo effect

  • Hard-easy effect

  • Hedonic adaptation

  • Herd behavior

  • Hindsight bias

  • Hostile attribution bias

  • Hot-cold empathy gap

  • Illusion of asymmetric insight

  • Illusion of control

  • Impact bias

  • Insensitivity to sample size​

  • Intentionality bias

  • Interoceptive bias

  • Law of the instrument​

  • Less-is-better effect

  • Loss aversion

  • ​Mental accounting

  • Mere exposure effect​

  • Money illusion

  • Moral credential effect​ (also called licensing effect)

  • Naive realism

  • Negativity bias​

  • Neglect of probability

  • Normalcy bias​

  • Observer-expectancy effect

  • Omission bias

  • Optimism bias

  • Ostrich effect

  • Outcome bias​

  • Overconfidence effect

  • Pessimism bias

  • Plan continuation bias

  • Planning fallacy

  • Present bias

  • Projection bias

  • Reactance

  • Reactive devaluation​

  • Recency illusion​

  • Recency bias​

  • Restraint bias

  • Risk compensation

  • Salience bias

  • Selective perception

  • Semmelweis reflex​

  • Stereotyping

  • Subadditivity effect

  • Subjective validation

  • Sunk cost fallacy

  • Surrogation

  • Survivorship bias

  • Parkinson's law of triviality

  • Well-traveled road effect

  • Zero-risk bias

  • Zero-sum bias

One or more of the above biases can contribute to our tendency to indulge in expectations.

Preventing frustration: be careful what you think you know and what you think you don't know

We can be overconfident about what we think we know, both positively and negatively. We indulge in assumptions. It saves thinking. It saves considering risks. It saves feeling uncertain. 

"I know I can finish this project on time."

"In just three steps this will be finished."

"I know that there's no chance she would go on a date with me."

"There is no way I could enjoy spending all those hours on getting my taxes done."

Are you willing to be less sure?

Are you willing to be less sure about the stability of your marriage? Are you willing to be less sure about how long the project might take? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that you can get your kids to do what you want? Are you willing to be less sure about how healthy your diet is? Are you willing to be less sure about how many people are going to buy the book you're writing? Are you willing to be less sure that you didn't do anything to contribute to being mistreated? Are you willing to be less sure that you need to prove anything? Are you willing to be less sure that you need to improve?

Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that "you're not good enough"? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that you've got to sacrifice now for the future? Are you willing to be less sure about the ideas of good and bad and right and wrong? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that you have to prioritize looking good to others and taking care of others over yourself? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that you won't be able to find or create a job that you really love? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that you won't be okay if you lose your job? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that someone will say "no" if you ask them for something? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that you will look bad if you prioritize taking care of yourself? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that you will lose a friend or won't have any friends if you start saying "no" when you'd like to say "no"? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that you and your relationship with your parents won't still be okay if you set boundaries with them and start taking care of yourself in your relationship with them? Are you willing to be less sure about the idea that a conflict with someone couldn't be worked out if you tried the Partnership Conversation with them?

Learning self skepticism

Set up a recurring mobile alarm one or more times per day according to Kickstarting a mental habit. When the alarm sounds, ask yourself, "How might my projections or plans about how things are going to go today either overly optimistic or overly pessimistic?"

Cleaning up: acknowledging the truth

Even given your best efforts to see the world clearly, you might end up feeling frustrated or upset about something. Then stop and clean it up with yourself.

Consider taking yourself through the Undoing fear process, using the expression, "Holy cats and jeepers creepers, I'm so scared that things are not turning out the way I expected them to!" Make sure you speak out wacky and silly.

Then go back and dissect your former thoughts and assumptions and discover how you set yourself up for frustration. Ask yourself, "In the future, how might I be able to remember to look for invalid assumptions and accept the risk, or not, of taking actions to get what I want?"

See How long before you give up?

Check out Are you messing in another's business?

Review Do you believe in reality?

Have you seen Showing disrespect to God?

_020210824N.jpg