Positive Frustration


  • Author Dr Bruce Wilson
  • Published June 5, 2021
  • Word count 495

Positive Frustration

Bruce Wilson, PhD

“Frustration although quite painful at times is a very positive part of success.” -Bo Bennett

The human experience comes with oodles of expectations. Expectations of people, things, and outcomes that will inevitably lead to numerous frustrations. Why is this true? Perhaps because many of the expectations of life are out of our control. These expectations are beyond any of our ability to alter or have influence. Even if we are extremely competent and efficient in our lifestyle, there will be points of time in our life that are not within our control. Ignoring the recognition of this inability to control life circumstances makes us an accomplice to our own frustrations. A tenacious obsession on the obstacles of life can lead one to a pattern of self-inflicted frustrations. How can we create a positive growth shift from these negative perceptions?

“Learn how to turn frustration into fascination. You will learn more being fascinated by life than you will by being frustrated by it.” -Jim Rohn

Consider fascination as a pursuit into the unknown. This pursuit may lead you to an important and vital gateway of self-awareness. Most people describe frustration as feeling like some form of blockage. A little bit like being stuck in a traffic jam with nowhere to escape. By pursuing the source of that blockage you may open some closed windows of opportunity for learning about the self. For example: That purported friend who lets you down at a crucial time may reveal the limitations of your friendship. This demonstrates that your expectations of people may be slightly incongruent with reality. To be in fascination is about being absorbed on the task at hand. This total engagement of self-will redirects negative energy toward the positive. Through embracing the challenges of any frustration we move toward growth. And, growth is always a little bit uncomfortable.

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” -John Maxwell

We know that frustration, by its very nature, is a change agent. When frustrated we are motivated to transition from where we are to some place better. Why not make that a growth experience? Through the growth experience we may have to give up familiar limiting patterns, like becoming frustrated over and over again by the same things. Moving away from these patterns will be uncomfortable but profitable. The cost-benefit analysis of moving from seeing obstacles to seeing challenges creates salient feelings of self-control, which are usually absent in frustration.

“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.” -Max Dupree

When frustration becomes the response norm we are moving toward depression and anxiety. By challenging these unhealthy response patterns we start to move toward a more copacetic expansion of the self. We are no longer held captive by our internal magnified connection to frustration. The mobility required to change our knee-jerk reactions to frustration appears to be utilizing a combination of challenge responses accompanied by a fascination for self-discovery. Personal growth will follow!


Dr. Bruce Wilson is a psychologist with 25 years of experience. He enjoys sharing his ramblings with friends and colleagues. He is currently in private practice at Mind Health Care in Geelong, Australia. This article is solely his work.

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