I pride myself in having a growth mindset. I am always willing to learn something new, and I put in the time, usually, to grow proficiency. I feel that it is one of my better personal and professional attributes. A willingness to learn new things, and to put in the time to learn new things, does not preclude me from being a frustrated person, however. Those that know me know that I can be one frustrated mother trucker.
The difference, with me, however, is that I really do not know when to walk away. This tends to lead to more frustration with myself. Perhaps this is the grit and perseverance that Angela Duckworth discusses, or perhaps I have just read too much Malcolm Gladwell and know, if I put in the time, the efforts will pay off. Still, while it is very important to know how to persevere or work through frustration, there is not use beating a dead horse, so to speak.
Purposeful practice is meaningful practice. I am fascinated with the game of golf. In golf, just about anyone can swing a club, but not very many of us are playing on the PGA (myself included, unfortunately). In the game of golf, one can spend hours fruitlessly swinging a club around, without much progress. It is not until we do something different, such as focusing in on the club face, swing plan, body movements, and all of the other little components, and being very deliberate about how we are adjusting these things and building the muscle memory the right way that we start seeing positive results and a lowering handicap. Meaningful, purposeful practice can greatly reduce frustration when building a new skill. We all had training wheels, once upon a time.
Outside perspective is meaningful to the objective. When you are learning a skill, you should not go it alone, unless you want to add extra time to proficiency, in most cases. Whether it is finding a mentor, or taking a lesson, watching a YouTube video, or reading a blog, finding help on your path to success will certainly decrease your frustration and create an easier path to proficiency. All professional athletes accept coaching. Why is the same not true of you and the skills that you are passionate about learning?
Know when to shift focus. We all run into barriers, and this feedback is hardest for me, for I am extremely stubborn about practicing the same skill, over and over. This can be great practice at times. Other times, however, this repetition and unrealistic expectation that one more rep will help us reach mastery leads to more frustration. Know when to shift your focus to a different area, and when to come back to the specific skill once your head is cleared and a little time has passed (not too much time, or you will lose skill earned).
I am passionate about learning new things. I believe you are too, or you probably would not have stayed with me this long. Having a growth mindset and a hunger and passion to learn new things, and grit and determination to put in the work are amazing aspects to have in your personality. Don’t take them fore granted but just as importantly don’t beat that dead horse when it is time to call it a day. While life is too short not to learn more about this amazing universe, but it is also way too short to spend your days being frustrated. Now, go out there and grind!