Frustration In Training: Is there a place for it?

wyatt down

Is there a place for frustration in training? In teaching? In learning?

The answer is a resounding YES! To ALL of the above.

The fact is… frustration begins, where knowledge ends. Period.

Its a simple fact. Life is stressful… learning is stressful. NOT learning is stressful. For the student and for the teacher both. “For the teacher?” you ask? Well yes. If that teacher pushes them-self to be better, clearer, more efficient, better understood. Only if you have the ego to believe that you have nothing to learn, do you not become frustrated. It means you aren’t challenging yourself. If you don’t want to be frustrated, make sure you set your expectations appropriately low so you won’t be disappointed. It is the only way not to experience lack of success. To accept everything the way it is. No frustration. Acceptance. Submission… is that a better word?

I once heard a quote… I don’t know the author, and I may not be quoting it perfectly accurately, but… “A man forced to change his opinion against his will, is of the same opinion still.” 

Some trainers prefer to teach students that are of this type of compliance. This is not educating. You may be able to create ’cause and effect’ behavior, but it is without the challenge to create true intelligent learning and not just blind obedience. I, myself, don’t want submission from my student. I want cooperation. Its a choice to cooperate, rather than blindly comply.

Many trainers get frustrated that a student, human or animal, isn’t “getting it”. Well, you are frustrated because YOUR knowledge has reached your limit. Not that you don’t have knowledge of the subject matter. But you have reached the limit of your particular ability to communicate that subject with THAT student. You need to back up and evaluate what and how you are asking. If YOU are frustrated, how does your STUDENT feel! Learning is a choice of thought. Not a reaction of command. It requires experience and problem solving.

Frustration is a normal part of learning. If you aren’t frustrated, you probably aren’t learning anything new. A teacher or trainer should ALWAYS be learning. From every new student, every new task. Challenge yourself. Teaching challenges the depth of your understanding.

Don’t forget, frustration is a normal experience of acquiring new information. But if what you are trying to communicate isn’t moving forward at a reasonable, measurable level, you may not be providing your student with sufficient information. Break down what you are trying to communicate into more palatable pieces. You can often get to the end of the road faster with small steps that continue to move forward, than by trying to take great leaps (to save time) only to have to take a detour to make that path successful.

And remember, every forward step along the path is a success. PART or the journey to knowledge and confidence. The journey is NOT just about the destination. Confidence IS knowledge. Frustration is LACK of it. Confidence in mastering a skill is the destination.

Shyness, fear and anxiety are a byproduct of the unknown. Lack of experience creates it. Create safe, careful situations that cause frustration and result in success. Build confidence. Learn through it. Challenge yourself.

You may find you are your own student.

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