Frustration & Happiness - Turn Every Challenge into an Opportunity!

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I love it when life sends us little lessons to be learned. Even better (and more often it seems, in my case) I love it when life steps in and slaps me upside the head with something I need to be paying more attention to. That happened to me just this past week, and the lesson I learned is something that I think we can all benefit from, in our quests for greater happiness.

When you talk about a situation that's ongoing at your job, something that seems to be bogging you down, or preventing you from reaching your goal, how do you describe it? I bet you use the word frustration a lot to talk about these challenges in life. I sure do. In fact, I think "frustration" is something that I express pretty frequently, whether it's work-related, or at home. But every challenge doesn't have to cause frustration.

Frustration is a strong word, and when we use it to describe a situation in our lives, we're giving that situation a lot of power over our emotional state. What if you made a conscious decision to look for the good in every moment of frustration, every day? Think about it as you move through your day, starting with first thing in the morning when you spill coffee on your last clean pair of jeans on the way out the door. Take advantage of the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and dress up a bit more than you normally would. Maybe you'll notice an increase in confidence, just from taking your personal appearance up a notch!

Say you're in the office now, and a situation with a co-worker is really getting on your nerves. They're talking all over you in a meeting with your boss and you're not able to get a word in edgewise, let alone the time to allow your ideas and insights to shine through. Rather than stomping back to your desk and grouching loudly to anyone who will listen about how much you can't stand that particular Chatty Cathy, use the challenge they present as an opportunity. You didn't get to speak in the meeting, so send your boss an email outlining your idea! You'll have his (or her) undivided attention, and have the benefit of being able to lay out your ideas in the most logical progression

In my case, I was thwarted in reaching a goal I had set for myself professionally. Upon expressing my frustration, I was lucky enough to have a co-worker and friend point out just how much power I was giving the situation to affect my happiness. That made me stop, and think, and recognize that frustration for the opportunity that it was, to get involved in other projects and be available to step in and help others when needed, because my time wasn't already allocated. I made a negative a positive, and really increased my overall happiness!

Next time you start to use that dreaded f-word (no, not that one!), think about the word opportunity instead, and put your creative juices to work in determining how you can make more positives in your own life!

About the Author

Lindsay Brunner


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