introduction: this is a post in a series exploring the purpose of different emotions. the movie inside out laid out the idea, along wit scientific backing, that all emotions have a purpose. I take it a step further by saying that until the purpose of the emotion is fulfilled, the emotion of the situation will continue to exhort power. For example, if someone treats you unfairly, you are likely to feel angry. Until the purpose of the anger, fairness, is fulfilled, there will be little chance for you to completely move beyond the anger you experienced.
I was trying to work on my book the other day. the key word was trying. try as i may, i could not motivate myself to form a single word for my book. Forming words towards other endeavors, such as blog post and replies flowed easily, but words for the book remained damned. i reached a point of great frustration; why could i string words together for everything but my book?
i did and Internet search for, “purpose of frustration”. in the results, I found a reference the purposive component of frustration. it had an extensive list of purposes of frustration. here is the list:
inform us that something about our environment has changed and that we should test the rules that our reward expectations were based upon
to provide feedback that our self-efficacy estimation is poor
to provide feedback that the task is more difficult than we thought
to provide feedback that our fundamental assumptions underpinning our expectation estimations are flawed
to provide feedback that our goal is too difficult, too easy or just right
to provide feedback that our goal is too vague, and that it needs to be better defined
to provide feedback that our goal is worthwhile (a goal with no frustrations at all would arguably be of little value)
To provide motivational feedback
to provide feedback that our goals are too ambitious, biting off more than you can chew 1
a couple of potentials came to mind. I surely must be crazy to think i could ever write a book. i’ve never written one before, what makes me think i could do one now? i’m truly over my head. maybe this task is too difficult.
hold on, hold on. time out, time out. who has already produced 16 chapters in rough draft, probably about 1/2 the book? me. i’ve prove myself capable so far; I haven’t lost “it”. additionally, people who have seen what i have written generally like it and find it helpful. there has to be another purpose for my frustration.
next, i remembered rome wasn’t build in a day. I realized every time i sat down to work on my book, i wanted to write my book, not a chapter, a section, a paragraph, a sentence or a word. Since I’ve never wrote a book before, the thought of writing a book became overwhelming and impossible. what if i could break my intermediate goal into something more attainable? I’ve written thousands, if not millions of sentences in my life, most of the time without great fear and trepidation. with that in mind, i’ve changed my new task from writing a book to writing the next sentence for my book. while writing a book may prove daunting, writing a sentence turns out to be a much more attainable, less overwhelming goal.
reason: not making any progress on my book
purpose of the emotion: realizing i’ve bitten off more than I can chew.
how I fulfilled the purpose: realized i couldn’t write a book in one sitting. i changed my goal from writing my book to writing one sentence at a time.
result: mostly over the frustration and progressing on my book, again.
1you won’t find this referred to in the linked article. it’s one of my own.