I have a quote that hangs on my office wall by racecar driver Alan Kulwicki that I read daily to keep me going… The real test of your character is what it takes to stop you. I reflect upon that quote whenever I get frustrated. I am the first to admit I can have a low frustration thrush hold. I am not a big fan of standing in line, poor or slow customer service or automated phone systems. But as I aged, I developed what others would call maturity but what I recognize as my ability to multi-task to keep my frustration quotient in line when standing on line.
But there is one area that still rattles my cage and causes me to become irritated or question my commitment to my cause. It is technology. I believe I am a reasonably intelligent person who has had a good deal of success in many areas but when I tackle the manual functions on my digital camera or try to schedule the publication of my articles for this blog I can promise you what can go wrong will go wrong.
It started years ago before the proliferation of the personal computing device. It began with phone systems and copiers. My first real job was as a “switcher”, the person who punched the buttons to put local TV programming on the air. I was good at it; I had fun doing my job. I would have multiple projectors, video sources and audio sources all going at one time but ask me to make multiple copies of the show log and I knew there was going to be trouble. The copier would jam, it would run out of toner, it would run out of paper…it had a million and one things it could do to stop me from getting the job done. Unfortunately, the bigger problem is that technology doesn’t stay fixed. It is like cleaning up after a 3 year old. You know you are just going to have to do it all over again the next day.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that machines were or are out to get me. Or at least I don’t think they are. I just know my personality and this is an area of challenge for me. I struggled with math in school, a subject that made me feel dumb. Those same feelings come to the forefront when trying to master a new skill set on certain types of technology. To this day, the flash button on the phone is just another way to hang up on the person you are talking to before you tried to connect the third party.
As I work to live my life intentionally, sometimes that means pushing through the frustration, the childhood feelings of inadequacies and just plain staying the course. When the frustration builds, I take a walk, vacuum a rug or call Marty who commiserates with me and then reminds me of my goals. I, of course, no longer throw things against the wall… that became too costly. I remind myself, who I want to be and what I want my life to look like and that helps me keep my frustration quotient low.
What gets you frustrated and how do you handle it?