My husband, Tony has a favourite saying.
“Frustration precedes enlightenment”
Many times in the midst of frustration, he has lovingly said those words to me. My first thought was “I can tell you where to stick your enlightenment” but thankfully the words never came out.
He has used this expression for years, and we often say it and laugh when things have been a bit tough, however over the last few years I am beginning to understand this concept from a much deeper level.
When something is annoying or slightly irritating we aren’t strongly driven to do anything to change the experience. We just put up with it. Sometimes the effort or action required to change the situation is so fearful, uncertain or difficult that sticking with the irritation is a far more enticing option. We tell ourselves that it is really not that bad, and things will sort themselves out soon.
However, if left that irritation starts to get worse, it becomes increasingly disturbing to a point that we can’t NOT think about it. It get’s so frustrating that we become so irritated that we are willing to do ANYTHING to get rid of it. Including, the effort or action that we once thought too hard or fearful.
Now we are willing to learn what we need to, face what we were avoiding, do what we have to as there is no other option. Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is now so painful that it has been taken off the table as even worth considering. All this is left is to find a solution.
Time and time again I have seen with my clients and experienced first hand the power in making the decision to do something about it. As soon as the decision is made, the answers come. What looked like an enormous mountain from afar, has a far nicer walking track up the slope once your at the foot of the mountain too see.
Another great quote I love is
“When the student is ready, the teacher will come”.
This is so relevant here, as when we ask the question, what do I need to learn to solve this problem, somewhere as if like magic, the right person or right experience shows up, ready to teach us exactly what it is we need.
Now I get excited when frustrations come up as I know on the other side of this is understanding, knowledge and growth.
I may still want to throw something at Tony’s head if he says it to me in a heightened state of frustration, but it know he is right (Don’t tell him I said so)
I’ve attached a funky graph to explain the curve of learning something new. It show’s how initially we have tons of confidence, but as we start to learn more about our subject our confidence drops somewhat and we get frustrated, but that is part of the process and by sticking with it we eventually get to the other side where we have grown dramatically in knowledge and experience and the confidence in ourselves is heightened once again. Now with more understanding and self awareness.
The real work was done not when we were confident, but rather when we felt like we were failing. When we decide we are ready to change, the solutions will come.