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Limiting Your Struggles

Posted by Peet Brits on October 5, 2008

All of us have days where our frustrations and struggles completely break our spirits. It is days like that when I begin to wonder why I did not rather become something like a Latin dance instructor. Whatever job you have, there is always some cause of frustration, and in this article I will be taking a closer look to a possible cause of this irritation.

Adding Up

Let me divide it into two sides. The first side we will label “A” and call it struggling. Struggling is something that you do that wastes time, and it becomes frustrating because the more time you spend on it the more you get the feeling that you are not getting anywhere. The frustration is magnified as it usually is something that should just work. An example would be a broken computer software installer. You need to get it working, but you cannot find out why it will not do so. The effect is usually increased by lack of knowledge and tediousness of the process.

On the other side, which we will label “B”, we have challenges. A challenge is something (usually) difficult that you need to overcome, but you are to some extend in control of what is happening and understand and see the progress. An example would be a mathematician solving a mathematical challenge. Usually, as with “A”, it is also something that you need to get done, but is sometimes also done out of sheer enjoyment.

A challenge might seem like a struggle, but it is not. The difference is that when you solve a challenge you feel good about it, but even when you eventually complete the struggle you will still want to throw your PC out of the window because of how stupid it all is.

Now we have two sides of a scale, measured by time and energy invested. The amount that side “B”, the challenges, outweighs side “A”, the struggles, is the amount of job satisfaction that the person perceives. On the other hand, when the first side “A”, the struggles, outweighs side “B”, the challenges, then it will lead to major frustrations, boredom, or even motivation to start looking for a new job.

Balancing Out

It is interesting that these two sides are very much the same. The only real difference is how it is perceived. Further, because different people have different interests, one person’s struggle is sometimes another person’s challenge. To use my example from earlier, the very mathematical problem that is a wonderful challenge for a logical person with mathematical interests will at the same time be an absolute frustration for someone else with no mathematical sense or interest.

As this is not an ideal world we sometimes need to do other people’s unfinished jobs. We need patience for this, but always remember to balance it off with something challenging or fun to maintain a healthy balance. Yes, force yourself to do so. When you notice the warning signs, immediately stop what you are doing for a while, before it is too late.


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