Frustrated…or fascinated: Those are the two main choices we have when we come up against a problem –so sayeth my good friend and mentor, Rob Gilbert (check out his Success Hotline, 973.743.4690). From where I sit, Rob’s right on target.
When we come up against a knotty dilemma — something that’s really throwing us for a loop (very punny!), we can easily tie ourselves into knots as well and spiral down into a place where we lose patience with ourselves and let the wind get knocked out of our sails. But that kind of negativity and the “can’t do” feelings it engenders won’t get us very far. In fact, I’ve found that only place frustration gets me is a pit stop at the Slough of Despond — a lousy destination and devilishly tricky to climb out of.
On the other hand, we can make a different choice and go the fascination route. We can amp up our energy — instead of letting it get sucked out of us — and get pumped up about finding creative new ways to do battle with whatever dragon we’re trying to slay. We can get curious about it instead of getting cowed by it.
Just to help both you and me bypass frustration and head down the fascination highway, here are a few synonyms from Roget’s Thesaurus for “to fascinate” — “engross, absorb, immerse, obsess, enthrall, hold spellbound, mesmerize, charm, enchant.” And here’s what being fascinated can lead to: “absorb the attention, claim one’s thoughts, engross the mind or thoughts, engage the attention, monopolize one’s attention.”
As I ponder these words and their meanings, it seems clear that while frustration makes us back away from a problem and disengage, fascination does just the opposite: It invites us to dive into the dilemma, to immerse ourselves in it, to devote attention and thought to it, to become mesmerized by it. And when we do some or all of these things, it seems far more likely that we’re going to find the answer we need, doesn’t it? And hey, it even sounds like we might have fun doing it! As Rob says, there’s nothing more fulfilling that grappling with something challenging that you really care about. So let’s deep-six the frustration, dive into fascination, and write on!