The cause of unnecessary frustration

Thinking things SHOULD be different is the reason we have so many unnecessary problems. It looks like: 

  • I should not have eaten so much. 
  • He should be helping around the house more.
  • This meeting should have a clearer purpose.
  • My manager should not keep rescheduling my 1:1’s.
  • I should have been promoted.

We think so many things should be different. We spend so much time trying to change things, but thinking something that already happened should be different is a battle you can never win. You can’t change the past. Obsessing over how it’s not fair and should be different is a waste of time.  It just makes you more annoyed and frustrated. 

This is why you don’t actually feel better after complaining about work with coworkers or friends. This is why don’t come up with great solutions to your problems after telling your manager all the reasons why something should be different. Do you leave those encounters feeling motivated, excited, and hopeful that things will change? Nope.  

You are probably right that many of the things should be different, but trying to prove your point, just proves why it’s wrong. It does not solve the problem. 

If you really want to solve the problem, stop obsessing over why it’s such a problem, and start focusing on what you want to do now. It might look like:

  • Stop judging yourself for eating too much, and start going on a walk.
  • Stop yelling at him in your head and start asking him to do the dishes.
  • Stop doing other work and start asking what success looks like in the meeting.
  • Stop waiting for your manager and start asking other leaders for feedback.
  • Stop whining and start exceeding expectations in your job.

Things don’t go as planned. You don’t always get what you want. Priorities change. Managers change. There are things we can’t control. 

You can keep obsessing over it or start obsessing over what you want to do next. 

You got this.

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Lindsay Lyman Avatar

Hey, I’m Lindsay Lyman

I spent the last 11 years growing my career at one of the largest tech companies in the world. I’ve built teams, launched new products, and created my own jobs. As a certified coach, I teach people how to manage the noise in their head to feel motivated and valued at work again.

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