Frustration. “The feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.” Psychologically it is an emotional response that arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of an individual’s will or goal and is likely to increase when the longer it is denied. EVERY student I have ever taught and every martial artist I’ve ever known has experienced frustration as some point or another.

Truth told, if you practice anything long enough, continually looking for ways to test yourself and acquire more skills, you will experience numerous periods of frustration. The big question is what should we do when we feel frustrated?

One of the earliest lessons I was taught in my martial arts journey was to always maintain a “white belt mindset.” Meaning, there is always more to learn, always room for improvement, and always someone out there to humble you. The white belt mindset also helps remind us to expect and accept frustration as a part of learning. A vital part of learning at that; overcoming obstacles, both personal and external.

Companies across the globe are constantly in search of ways to make employees more tolerant to change; change management is an ever growing field within corporate USA. If we acknowledge that change is not only inevitable but necessary for growth then we must also understand there will be varying levels of stress that accompany. Some people naturally adapt to change, even thrive. We call them early adopters.

Others struggle and become frustrated, stressed. Generally, our tolerance decreases the longer the issue persists; the delay in experiencing gratification of achieving a goal. Essentially, as time passes and our frustration continues, our ability to manage decreases and the negative affects it has on us increase. This is a critical moment where many will either quite or resign themselves to never being able to “get it.”

Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.

Bo Bennett

As a coach I understand every individual student has his/her own level of tolerance for frustration. When I see a student getting frustrated my general rule is to remind the person why we are there; their larger goal. It is easy to get tunnel vision when a problem persists and we forget the true beauty of martial arts and all its benefits stem from the journey itself. Frustration stops us from looking back to appreciate where we came from and the progress we have made. I always ask students “Are you better than you were last year?” The answer I usually get is a resounding and emphatic “Yes!” My reply is usually, “Then what you freaking out about. Relax and give it time.”

Easier said than done. I get it. But reminding ourselves that we are a work in progress helps put the current frustration into perspective. It’s a speed bump on a long, long road that is martial arts. A road full of twists and turns and seemingly unpassable paths at times. Let’s not forget, you passed what you thought was the unpassable once before. You will do it again. Sometimes it’s a breeze, sometimes it takes longer. The important piece is to persist. Consistency is what makes you good but persistence is what will carry you through!!

The Struggle Makes You Stronger!