Life Coach Magazine

Easiest Way to Frustrate Yourself, and How To Stop Doing It!

By Rohan @rohanforsale

frustration_2Here’s an easy way to frustrate yourself: expect something of someone which you know they can’t or won’t do!

“Duh! Who’d be stupid enough to do that?!” Well sadly I’d say nearly all of us have done it (myself included) and many of us do it on a regular basis! When we become angry with someone because they have failed to perform in a manner that we expect – and yet that manner is exactly how they naturally perform – then we are the ones who’ve made the mistake.


How immature!

Moms will act like moms, toddlers will act like toddlers and teenagers will act like teenagers. Beyond that however there is endless scope for personality nuances, talents, deficiencies, preferences and personal ethics! So you might have two 16 year old boys; one is a basketball playing, high achiever with a conservative lean when it comes to social issues and ethics, while the other is a punk rocker, great on the guitar and drums, who quit school and is never going back.

I know these are heavy handed stereotypes but they’ll do


If I were to expect artistic expression and social critique from our basketball star I would be bitterly disappointed. As I would be if I expected straight As from our angsty musician! This might seem really obvious but many of us are doing this very thing all the time!

Why? Because with every person, there are really two people:

1 – The Person We Want Them To Be: Whether they are a friend, a partner, a family member, a colleague or whatever, we all have an idealized version of those around us. The version of that person that we wished they were, as opposed to who they are right now. Perhaps we wish our child was better behaved, or that our partner was more affectionate, or that our colleague worked harder than they do. We can’t help it; even if we really like the person for who they are, it seems we naturally project our ideal on them.

2 – The Person They Actually Are Right Now: While someone might get closer to our ideal of them in time, the fact is that there is a version of them right here, right now. This is the person in front of you, just as they are. By looking at their past choices, experiences, behaviors, opinions and beliefs it’s quite easy to paint a detailed picture of who they are, and to form accurate predictions about how they will think and behave.

The Problem


“How can you possibly think Pokemon is better than Hamlet?!”

There is nothing wrong with our idealized projections of people, and there is certainly noting wrong with how someone is right now. The problem occurs when we mix up the two! Let’s look at another example. Imagine you have a child, he is 9 years old. In reality he reads and enjoys Goosebumps books, and other stories at a similar level of complexity. However in your idealized projection of your son he should be reading Wilde, Shaw and even Joyce! So you buy him a copy of Dubliners, knowing that it is a literary classic and should be enjoyed by all. The kid gets bored with it almost immediately and returns to his fun books. Now you, angry that he doesn’t appreciate the genius is James Joyce, reprimand him; and quite unfairly.

It doesn’t matter if he SHOULD be reading James Joyce, the fact is that he IS reading R.L. Stine! So think about it, who’s being silly really? The son or the parent?

In Conclusion.

Treat people as they are, not as you wish they were. Let’s hear that again: treat people as they are, not as you wish they were. We have to go to where someone is right now when we ask something of them, not to where we Think They Should Be. If we were to put a person who is still on their learners permit behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car we would expect disaster. And it’s just the same with everything else. If someone is on their proverbial “learners permit” then only expect of them what you would expect of a learner. Do this and you will not be unduly frustrated, angered or perturbed by those around you.

It’s tough, but anytime you find yourself getting flustered or upset with someone, ask yourself this questions: “am I angry because I expected something that wasn’t realistic? Am I angry because this person failed to perform the way I think they should, instead of the way they actually are?”

Let’s all cut down on some needless frustration by expecting things of people based on who, and how they are, not who and how we think they should be


Thanks for ready, all the best!


Related Articles:

Rohan Healy is the author of “Greeks to Geeks: Practical Stoicism in the 21st Century”, “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You”, “SEX, Not as a Separate Subject: A Guide to Great Sex with Great People” and Sci Fi Action/Adventure novel Gyaros: The Mice Eat Iron!

Click the book titles to visit their Amazon pages, read the reviews, and sample or purchase the books.

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