When Frustration Hits…Ask Yourself This

Recently I found myself engaging in an annoying pattern of behavior.

In just the past two weeks there have been several instances when I’ve tried to open a package of some kind. Once it was a hotel bar of soap. Once it was a packet of Vitamin C. Once it was a bag of airplane peanuts.

All three times I’ve attacked the package. I’ve tried to pull it apart. I’ve twisted the plastic wrapping. I’ve used my teeth. I’ve gotten very, very frustrated.

And I’ve mauled the poor thing in the process.

blog - bag struggle

And then finally, all three times, I finally noticed a little slit in the top…designed to make it easy to open it. And, all three times, it was.

I was just making it much harder than it needed to be.

We do the same kind of thing all the time, in all kinds of ways.

  • We agonize over what to get a friend for his birthday, struggling to figure out what he’d like…and we realize we could’ve just asked him and it would’ve been much simpler.
  • We struggle for an hour to format those pesky bullet points in our word document…and we realize we could’ve watched a one-minute online tutorial video and it would’ve been much simpler.
  • We battle with our dying TV remote as we try to change the channel, clicking it over and over again before it finally works… and we realize we could’ve just changed the batteries and it would’ve been much simpler.

The theme?

We rush into an activity with absolute certainly that we know how to do it. And then, when it doesn’t go the way we planned, we find ourselves trying to force it, struggling to finish it in the way we thought we would.

We stubbornly cling to our plan…we wonder why this has to be so difficult.

What we don’t do is stop and realize that maybe it doesn’t need to be. We don’t take a pause. We don’t ask ourselves the question:

Wait a minute…is there an easier way?

It’s a fair question in a whole lot of situations. We just don’t always think to ask it because we’re too busy forging ahead with our plan.


I submit to you that maybe if we started asking this question when the frustration begins, we might just save ourselves a whole lot of time.

We’d certainly save ourselves some angst. Maybe not every time. But certainly some of the time.

The thing is, if we get to a point where we ask if there’s an easier way…chances are there is. And, if this easier way is not immediately obvious, chances are someone else has already figured it out…and all we have to do is look it up or ask them.

It’s all about recognizing – during those moments of frustrated struggle – that we can take a pause, take a breath, and ask if there might be an easier way.

And then, if there is, to do it.

After all, who doesn’t want less angst in their life?

I do. Which is why I’m trying to keep that question top of mind.

It’s not in my nature to take a pause for something when I’m dedicated to getting it done a certain way. But what I know is that stopping and asking myself if there might be an easier way is worth the potential time and energy I would save.

Even if it’s just those few moments when I get that package open and get on with my life.

blog - bag open

This week…

Notice those frustrating moments when you get fixated on getting things done a certain way.

Stop and ask yourself.

Wait a minute…is there an easier way?

If there is, do it. And enjoy the moments and the peace you just gave yourself.

Now, go do good…and do it well.

5 thoughts on “When Frustration Hits…Ask Yourself This

  1. Duke says:

    Hi Deirdre,

    I too have vigorously attacked airline peanut packages! Many times after attacking, half the peanuts falls to the floor!

    Good thoughts!


  2. sarah says:

    Such a good reminder and a sense of comforting familiarity. I am always rushing to get to the next thing. It is not only about is there an easier way but also trying to enjoy the moment you are in and cherishing the process. Being present. If we are fully present we can think efficiently.

  3. Lauren says:

    Hi Deidre,

    I sometimes find myself even avoiding doing I task bc I don’t want to be frustrated or struggle but sometimes taking pause and looking for an answer I find that it wasn’t that hard after all. This happened twice in one night when my girl friend just suggested why don’t you look up how to fix that problem with your camera now not tomorrow or the next tI me it happens and it was an easy fix!

  4. Patty says:

    Thank you Deirdre. Words so true. I need to keep my head where my feet are so I can concentrate on what I’m doing and be aware of choices.

  5. Thanks for your comments all…love the fact that sometimes we’re not rushing into something, but instead putting it off…and that asking the question helps then as well. Also love the notion of keeping your head where your feet are!

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