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Positively Speaking: From frustration to fascination


By Toby Moore

For Capital Region Independent Media

Toby Moore

Doesn’t it seem like everything is difficult? Even the most simple and mundane tasks can be such a chore.

I’ve learned that almost everything is a little more complex and complicated than I initially imagined.

Every year I try to put the Christmas lights away so they won’t be tangled when I redecorate next year; somehow, the lights still manage to get tangled up. It seems simple enough, but what was supposed to be fun can turn into a frustrating experience.

Does anyone else have such a hard time getting the lawn mower started? Maybe I need to buy a new lawnmower, but it has been the same situation my whole life, with several lawnmowers. I have to pull the string a dozen times, and then maybe, just maybe, it will work.

Relationships are difficult! No matter how hard I try, it seems impossible to have relationships with certain people. I walk on eggshells and try to say the right thing, but they still end up angry and offended.

Losing weight and staying in shape, don’t even get me started on this one. If I have even one bite of dessert, I’ll gain it all back.

Why does it have to be like this? I have no idea, but it can help to put it all in perspective.

These little annoyances are nothing compared to the adversity and difficulty we will face when trying to master a particular skill, launch a successful business, or raise a happy family. Adversity is something we all must learn to live with; even plants and animals must struggle to live. 

One in a hundred baby spiders will survive into adulthood. Baby hyenas fight with their siblings to the death, and only the strong survive. A fraction of baby turtles will survive until adulthood. From the moment they are born, baby giraffes must learn to walk and run in a matter of hours or be eaten by their many natural predators.

Life is a struggle. Many people worldwide deal with situations that make our little annoyances seem silly.

I was talking to a filmmaker the other day. He made one very famous film with A-list talent. He was remarking about how he writes silly books and funny screenplays to make a living while his father and grandfather faced situations daily that were matters of life and death.

No doubt, compared to our ancestors, the struggle to survive has changed quite a bit. Most of the daily annoyances we face are not life-or-death situations like they faced.

While all of this is true, it still is hard not to get annoyed and frustrated.

I used to get angry at every minor annoyance I had to deal with. Multiple times throughout the day, I’d find my blood boiling. Why though? Does that type of response make any logical sense?

For years I felt as if I was constantly banging my head against the wall. After a while, it becomes hard to blame the wall. While we cannot control all the circumstances that come our way, we can change how we respond to them.

Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “Learn how to turn frustration into fascination. You will learn more by being fascinated by life than you will by being frustrated by it.”

It’s an interesting concept. Rather than raging at traffic, become fascinated! What’s so fascinating? It doesn’t have to be the traffic. What if you became fascinated by your response to the traffic? Why does it make you so angry? That’s a fascinating question when you get down to it!

If I ask myself why I’m so frustrated with the traffic, I’ll have a quick and easy answer: “I’m busy; I don’t have time to deal with this.” Is that the honest answer? As I become more fascinated with my response, I may ask more questions and become even more intrigued!

I knew there would be bad traffic, and if I had just organized my day better, I would have left the house earlier, and traffic wouldn’t be such a big problem; now that’s fascinating! By being fascinated, I discovered the source of my frustration.

Next time you’re feeling frustrated, take a breath, ask yourself why, and become fascinated instead!

Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.

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