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Welcome to the valley of merciless reflection

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Hi there, The final part of the year means festivities and holidays, but for a lot of us it’s also a
 

Work in Progress

November 11 · Issue #8 · View online
The newsletter about work

Hi there,
The final part of the year means festivities and holidays, but for a lot of us it’s also a scramble to get everything done. In the process, it’s easy to get frustrated. 
And while there are often things we can do to make life easier (more on that next week), today I’m taking a closer look at frustration itself.
The reason?
Simple: Frustration can be a helpful tool for growth.

For a long time, I consciously didn’t do anything with the stuff that irritated me. I figured most things that annoyed me fell outside of what Stephen Covey calls the “circle of influence”. When I couldn’t do a thing about it, I’d drop it.
Doesn’t make much sense to be angry at the rain, after all. My frustration wasn’t going to change the situation.
But focus your time and energy on things you can change, and you create true momentum and impact. This was life-changing for me. 
Also: anger? Frustration? That’s energy too. And as with aikido (I’m hopeless at sports, but I’ve heard this is how it works), where you don’t try to withstand an attack, but let the energy of your attacker work for you, I’ve found you can do the same with things that irritate you.
Those frustrations always tell you something about yourself. Often, it’s not welcome news.
My frustrations tell me that I lack patience, that I continually see things from my own perspective, that I could be more open to what other people think, that I’m not curious enough, and so on. If I truly take the time to look at these shortcomings, it ensures I’ll try to approach things differently. I can change my behavior. I’ll generate new ideas and, perhaps most importantly, gain new insight in the process.
That’s why I think that things that irritate you and lie beyond your control should have a special place in that diagram. Just outside the circle of influence and overlapping the circle of concern lies the VALLEY OF MERCILESS REFLECTION.
This week, see if you can look at any frustration you experience – with a coworker, your work, something you read, or maybe just an idea – in this light. What does it say about you? Consider it free life coaching: if people or ideas are irritating you, there’s always something you can learn from that. 
Have a fantastic week!
Rick


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