Dealing with Frustration


Frustration sucks. It can ruin your day, your relationships, and even your health. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid. It’s inevitability makes frustration natural: a price we pay to be human.

That price comes in many forms:

  • This traffic isn’t moving.
  • My boss is making me work late.
  • This computer is so damn slow.

Why do things have to be so difficult? It’s not my fault but why do I feel like I’m being punished?

Over the past year I’ve come to figure out that, for most of my life, I had it all wrong...

 

FRUSTRATION IS A REJECTION OF REALITY

Reality can suck if we want it to be different
— Leo Babauta

Frustration is a rejection of how things are; a reaction to not getting what you want. It sounds childish because it is. Bad things don’t happen to you because everyone and everything has it out for you. Sometimes bad things just happen because that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

To better explain this I want to break down a classic example of frustration:

 

How other people act

The frustration: Whether it’s your family, friend, or co-worker, people will do or say something that bothers you.

The reality: People have different values and beliefs that shape the way they live. The actions they take and the words they speak are determined by these values and beliefs.

The root of the frustration: The problem is never the other person. They are just being who they are. The problem is how you react to them.

The bottom line: People are able to act however they want, it’s their life, not yours. If you react by getting frustrated, it’s because they aren’t acting how you want them to.

From immovable traffic to the behavior of world leaders, being frustrated won’t change the reality of the situation. All it will do is cause you stress, consume valuable time, and, heck, it may even ruin a relationship or two.

Frustration is unavoidable, so instead of trying to find ways to never feel frustrated again, I found a way to minimize it.

  1. Be self-aware when I feel frustrated.
  2. Question why I feel frustrated. Recognize that my frustration is the result of not getting what I want.
  3. Accept that it’s my problem. Not the other person or the situation.
  4. Fix my own damn problem because it’s my responsibility not someone else's. In most cases, realizing that I’m acting selfishly by wanting the situation to be more favorable towards me is enough to make me calm down. Slowly but surely, the frustration goes away.

It’s a simple, but very difficult process. It takes practice, humility, and strength. But the payoff is worth it. Being less frustrated has made me less stressed, which probably means I’ll live longer if I keep this up.

Living longer is pretty cool.

 

Life is long


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Life is long if you know how to use it.
— Seneca

By the time I turned 29, I'd been living in LA for 4 years. Prioritizing my film editing career, I spent years honing my craft, culminating with trips to Sundance and SXSW. My overwhelming feeling after 4 years? "That sure as hell went by fast."

Damn, I’m almost 30. Where did the time go? I would often ask myself. Each time I would feel a little regretful; a sense that I wasn’t satisfied with how my life was going up until that point. I wanted to do more, but feeling like life was short, I would start to panic.

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.
— Seneca

Why was my life going by so fucking fast? After 33 years of wondering, I finally figured it out. For me, life was going fast because I was taking actions to speed up my life. Those specific actions came in the form of escaping.

 
escapism | noun: the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

 

  • Always on my phone. Countless check-ins on social media were common. I found it easier to live someone else’s life than my own.

  • Binge watching TV/Movies. Incredible thought goes into character/story development to make the audience relate to them. This results in hundreds of hours spent living vicariously through characters and stories. I found it easier to live fictional lives than my own.

  • Working too much. If nothing was going right in my life, I could always fall back on my career. Career progress gave me a false sense of fulfillment. By tying my self-worth to my career, I worked 50-70 hours a week. It consumed me, leaving me no time to live a life I actually wanted.

...when [time] is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing
— Seneca

I actively escaped my real life because it wasn’t going as well as I wanted it to. It was much easier to live a life that wasn't my own. Since I got struck by the cancer bug, I’ve put a lot of effort into creating a life I would want to live. That meant changing priorities and making sure my actions matched what I believed in.

Ever since then I’ve focused less on “escaping” and more on what is important: like Paulina, family, and health. I’m less stressed, healthier, and happier.

The interesting thing that happened was that this change slowed life down; I came to the conclusion that life slows down when you spend time on what is truly important to you. In other words, when you spend time living a life you actually want.

My life is slower but much more enjoyable. This is the type of life I could live for a long time.

 

FOXY PRINTS vol. 2

The Motherland

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  • Limited run of these prints. When they're gone, they're gone.

  • All prints are 20 x 30. Other sizes are available upon request. E-mail me at info@findfoxy.com for a quote.

  • A portion of the proceeds of each print sold will be donated to charity. 

  • While each of these prints mean something to me, photographs are subjective. Rather than telling you why I chose them, I will tell you about the moment and give you the space to experience each of them personally.

GRASS IS GREENER   Driving through the countryside, I looked out the window to a picturesque landscape. I asked Paulina to pull over so I could take a photo. The way the sun shines in South Africa is mesmerizing: the beams of light break through the clouds blanketing the rolling hills of land. - I think this is where they take desktop wallpaper photos.    BUY NOW

GRASS IS GREENER

Driving through the countryside, I looked out the window to a picturesque landscape. I asked Paulina to pull over so I could take a photo. The way the sun shines in South Africa is mesmerizing: the beams of light break through the clouds blanketing the rolling hills of land. - I think this is where they take desktop wallpaper photos.

BUY NOW

UNFORGIVING BEAUTY   The waves along the southern coast of Africa are violent. Get caught in them and you could lose your life. I chose to see them from a distance. It’s wild how the sound of waves crashing can be both terrifying and therapeutic.    BUY NOW

UNFORGIVING BEAUTY

The waves along the southern coast of Africa are violent. Get caught in them and you could lose your life. I chose to see them from a distance. It’s wild how the sound of waves crashing can be both terrifying and therapeutic.

BUY NOW

MAGICAL BEAST   South Africa is home to some of the most breathtaking wildlife on the planet. This Kudu and I locked eyes for what seemed like 45 seconds. I was first stunned by it's beauty, then fearful as it stared into my soul. Finally, I found myself at a loss for words as I began to feel a connection with this magical beast. Truly an unforgettable feeling.    BUY NOW

MAGICAL BEAST

South Africa is home to some of the most breathtaking wildlife on the planet. This Kudu and I locked eyes for what seemed like 45 seconds. I was first stunned by it's beauty, then fearful as it stared into my soul. Finally, I found myself at a loss for words as I began to feel a connection with this magical beast. Truly an unforgettable feeling.

BUY NOW

CO-EXISTENCE   This elephant walked along side our car like it had done so to countless other cars. I was in disbelief with the level of comfort it had with people. In South Africa it's possible for wildlife and humans to live together in peace.    BUY NOW

CO-EXISTENCE

This elephant walked along side our car like it had done so to countless other cars. I was in disbelief with the level of comfort it had with people. In South Africa it's possible for wildlife and humans to live together in peace.

BUY NOW

THE KING   Being 4 feet away from the King of the jungle is a humbling experience. As Paulina and I slowly creeped by it, it woke from it's sleep, picked up it's head, and stared directly at me. With virtually nothing in between us, and the fact that we were in the wild, my heart raced as I froze. He could’ve easily rip me to shreds if he wanted to. Luckily for me, he chose not to and, instead, left me with the thought that in the wild, humans aren’t special and lions rule all. An enlightening experience that I’ll never forget.    BUY NOW

THE KING

Being 4 feet away from the King of the jungle is a humbling experience. As Paulina and I slowly creeped by it, it woke from it's sleep, picked up it's head, and stared directly at me. With virtually nothing in between us, and the fact that we were in the wild, my heart raced as I froze. He could’ve easily rip me to shreds if he wanted to. Luckily for me, he chose not to and, instead, left me with the thought that in the wild, humans aren’t special and lions rule all. An enlightening experience that I’ll never forget.

BUY NOW

 
 

FOXY PRINTS vol.2 charity: Elephants Alive

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Elephants Alive's mission is to ensure the survival of elephants and their habitats and to promote harmonious co-existence between man and elephants

 

Why Elephants Alive?

In addition to being one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, Elephants are a keystone species. Meaning they play an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they live in. 

  • Elephants eat shrubs and small trees that grow on the savannah. This feeding behavior keeps the savanna a grassland and as a result animals such as zebras, antelopes, and wildebeests are able to graze.

  • Elephants leave dung that is full of seeds from the many plants and trees they eat. The seeds then grow into new plants and trees, boosting the health of their ecosystem.

  • During dry seasons, elephants use their tusks to dig for water. This provides water to other animals that are otherwise unable to access water.

Elephants are murdered every single day for their ivory. They need protection. They need help.