Frustration Intolerance & Emotional Hypertrophy

People know how to win. They understand the mechanics of piecing together a winning business, relationship, or life. The information is everywhere. And yet time and again I witness a relationship to those mechanics that doesn’t equate to winning. The challenge? We don’t know how to deal with the emotions of losing. We don’t know how to deal with pain. In fact it is our intolerance of the emotions we don’t want to feel in the pursuit of what we do that so often keeps from living a life on our terms. Fear, doubt, frustration, rejection etc.

Below is one of my favorite excerpts from Tim Ferris’s’ book Tools of Titans…

Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence.  In fact, it is essential and something every single elite athlete has had to learn to deal with.  If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it.  In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals.  Unreasonable expectations time wise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure.  Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process.”

Our goal should be to become what I call frustration intolerant. Frustration Intolerance is defined as…

an immunity to frustration and perceived feelings of failure. It is created and cemented by a blue collar work ethic married to an indomitable will”

Changing the meaning is the simplest way to keep yourself moving forward. Think of the feelings you don’t want as resistance training of your nervous system or emotional hypertrophy. Let me explain. If we were standing in a gym and your goal was to build muscle you would engage in some form of resistance training. Anything from barbells, dumbbells, or cables. Regardless of the approach the goal is to create muscle hypertrophy.

According to the article “How does muscle grow in the body” by Daniel Bubnis (link provided below) muscle hypertrophy is a continuous cycle of breaking down and building back up the fiber in your muscle.

“Muscle size increases when a person continually challenges the muscles to deal with higher levels of resistance or weight. This process is known as muscle hypertrophy. Muscle hypertrophy occurs when the fibers of the muscles tear and break down. The body repairs damaged fibers by fusing them, which increases the mass and size of the muscles.”

When you do hard shit you experience resistance. Resistance can come in many forms; fear, frustration, doubt, rejection etc. Each time you encounter these feelings and keep moving forward you are breaking down the fibers of your emotional muscle. Think of it like Spiritual Crossfit. Over time if you don’t give up you will become stronger. What used to scare you no longer does. What used to feel uncomfortable no longer is. What once was hard is now easy.

Emotional hypertrophy is simply the intentional and consistent expansion of your comfort zone. 

Don’t give up on your dreams and vision. Allow the emotions you don’t want to consistently make you stronger. Flex and build the muscle. By doing so you will open your life to a whole new level of possibility.