top of page
  • Writer's pictureMark Olivito

Frustration: A Precursor To A Decision Point

A trusted friend called the other day. “Fired up” would put it mildly. She was annoyed at a You Tube video posted on her new product that was not only amateurish, but also cast the product in a negative light. What annoyed her was not so much the unflattering comments but the medium of Youtube and how it lent a “false credibility” to an obvious amateur. Her disgust over a teenager posting almost a reckless opinion for anybody to see was palpable. The nerve!!! Ridiculous!

Make no mistake, this happened in the good old days as well. The difference? The water cooler/coffee shop was the medium for Sally consumer to voice her opinions and let word of mouth travel, or not. This was not a learning moment for Social however, that train has left the station and is yesterday’s news.

This was a learning moment in one of life’s great & pervasive emotions: FRUSTRATION.

Frustration is a reality in business. It is usually a sign that people care. I welcome frustration, especially when it becomes a catalyst for positive outcomes.

The evil cousin of frustration? INDIFFERENCE.

Indifference keeps me up at night, thinking about its presence in business. Indifference is a sign of lack of caring, possibly Hustle, and rarely translates to the breakthrough performance needed in hyper competitive markets. Indifference = warning sign.
Frustration is an indicator that your reality is changing or something is in conflict with your view of the world. It is an “action alert” that often brings us to a cross-roads type decision.

Think through your highest points of frustration, and I will bet a cross road was clearly soon there-after.

Frustration often circles around Old School crashing into New School. 2 schools of thought collide, creating the conflict.

Your reality is challenged and frustration ensues. This can be uncomfortable. Some people don’t even know that their frustration is propelling them to a decision, they just stay frustrated. Not dealing with frustration leads to…. more frustration.

Sometimes a bad decision is better than none, so with that….

When a New School vs Old School Frustration Occurs….. here are your options:

1) Jump in – Embrace it. Bet that it’s a new normal. Learn like hell. Propel yourself to action. See if the New School is the right school.
2) Jump out – Deny it. Call it a fad. Find smart counterpoints. Stick with the tried and true.
3) Stay on the sidelines, neutral – Try and stay under the radar. Don’t confirm or deny. Play it safe (on the surface).

There are no right or wrong answers for the best options to maximize business results and personal outcomes. Every situation is different. However, I’m never one NOT to present a personal bias.

I would be willing to bet that the % of people following options 1-3 “skews” towards the brutal reality of a bell curve:

1) Jump IN – Top 15% of performers. By definition, this group has a bias for action, gets frustrated but creates change as a result.

2) Jump Out – Bottom 15% of performers. This option is for change RESISTERS. Sometimes they are right, but a dangerous bias.

3) Neutral/Wait and see. – Middle 70%. The average group. “Safe choices.” They won’t implode. They won’t explode either.

This is 100% gut instincts, not backed by data, other than the Social CMO/Sea Change miss illustrating more NOT adapting to the social sea change. It is intuitive to me that the published list is more likely to be in the top 15% performance segment vs. their counterparts on the sidelines.

“Bias” aside as to the best decision point bucket vs. performance, the point is simple:


  • Embrace it! But Recognize the Source….

  • Contain it! Don’t let it get out of control.

  • Reduce it to paper, to get to the source. Paper tends to keep emotion out of it. Emotion rarely leads to positive outcomes.

  • You may have a Decision point on your hands. See options #1-3 above.

Making a cross-roads decision to deal with frustration are empowering. If you don’t take a clear and direct path, you have chosen to live with the frustration itself, danger!

Frustrations are like camp fires, they serve a real purpose. But if you leave it alone and walk away from the fire, sometimes they get out of control and begin to rage.

6 views0 comments


bottom of page