The other day someone told me that he is very frustrated at work. I was reminded of a very important learning early in life which someone shared with me. It defined as Frustration = Achievement – Hope . I thought it was a very powerful equation for life.
We get frustrated when either our achievements are low or our hope is too high. So mathematically speaking, one can get over frustration by either enhancing their achievements or lowering their hope. But, one does realise that life is not all mathematical.
Hence life’s issues cannot always be solved by adjusting variables in an equation. One lesson is for sure that we need to take control of what is happening to our lives. If our achievements are low, we need kick our own backs to find ways and means of improving our performance. On the other hand, if our clouds of hope are unrealistic, we need to tone them down to make them realistic.
Let us delve both on achievements and hope. Lets begin with hope. Hope is our mental creation. An imagination of what is possible in the future for us. We create our hopes and aspirations based on self belief, our own capabilities and what we see around us.
While most of the time, we may have a realistic self assessment of our own capacities , we may get swayed away by what we see around us. For eg. we belong to a lower middle class family and hope to have a car of our own. It is not an unreasonable dream. But we need to prioritise what is important for us in life. It could be kids’ education, a home to live in, a child’s marriage and so on. In such conditions, one needs to recast their aspirations to make them more realistic and postpone the dream of a car.
In real life this is what happens to most of us. We keep dreaming without any foundations and then when we land on Mother Earth with a thud, we feel bad about the consequences. On the other hand, if we keep reviewing and recasting our dreams and make them realistic from time time, this situation is less likely to happen.
Now, lets move to achievements. We all want to be the best. We look at film stars, sports persons or other celebrities and wish we could be like them. We do not realise that many of them have come up in life the hard way. Their life is visible to us only when they make it to the top. Very few of us are born with a silver spoon.
Most successful people in life have made it with sweat and tears. We do not see their toil in their formative years nor do we share their tears. What we see and feel jealous about is their prosperity. We may not realise that this has come to them after many years of toil.
As in the photo above, we may admire the geometrical beauty of the spider’s web after it is completed but do not see how many times it is damaged for various reasons before the spider does it all over again. A lesson from nature on how to manage our frustration and never give up till we achieve our goal.
During challenges like the pandemic, our frustration tolerance levels will be tested to the hilt. But it is the strong willed who will get over it with aplomb.
It may be time to introspect and ask oneself – Do I need to enhance my achievements or balance my hope ? The answers are within ourselves. We need not externalise the issues. We have a tendency to blame the world, our education system , workplace, bosses or even our family or friends for our non performance. This may not be the reality. We need to hit the reality buttons in life and then life may dramatically change for the better for us.
Time to reset.
S Ramesh Shankar
30th August 2020