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The middle: How to overcome frustration and avoid burnout

Opinion & Analysis
As we work towards our aspirations, we may encounter obstacles that can lead to inner frustration.

THE moment we decide to pursue an alternate future for ourselves and we set forth on the journey to success, we depart from the starting point. Yet, this initial momentum and excitement can eventually dwindle. As we work towards our aspirations, we may encounter obstacles that can lead to inner frustration.

For example, a new business can have a great idea with a brilliant plan but upon execution, despite the initial enthusiasm, one may encounter challenges that reveal a lack of market demand for the product. Similarly, even when following a weight loss plan that includes healthy eating, regular exercise, and smaller portions, one may reach a plateau and feel like giving up.  It is easy to get discouraged and to give up. However often times greatness is not achieved on the first trial, sometimes one has to fail repeatedly before they get a breakthrough.

Ford, Marvel, LEGO and Apple are all big brands almost everyone knows.  Today Ford is a known and leading car manufacturing company. The Marvel franchise has an outstanding global following with big movie releases such as Avengers: Endgame, which earned over US$2,7 billion. The LEGO toy company has made huge amounts in sales of toys and in the process, made many childhoods happy. Apple managed to make a name for itself and now, 30% of the world’s smartphone users use iPhone gadgets. There are at least 4,88 billion people.

It is seemingly hard to imagine a world without these brands because of the impact they have had on a global scale. Henry Ford faced bankruptcy twice before his breakthrough with the motor company. The Marvel franchise almost went bankrupt but after some changes, it managed to succeed. Apple too managed to turn its fortunes around after it made changes to its management and today it is what it is. Finally, the LEGO company initially sold wooden toys and experienced fire outbreaks at its factory twice. After some changes the plastic LEGO blocks of today were born.

The middle space between the start and success can be very complex. Understanding what needs to be done in order to attain success but somehow still not succeeding can be a tough blow. During such moments, it is crucial to remember the reasons that prompted us to embark on the journey towards success. Below, I will list a few habits that you can adopt to navigate through the middle.

Have constant check-ins

It is good to reassess the plan and see if you are still on track. One can analyse and see if there are habits that they have adopted or that they are nurturing that are preventing them from reaching the goal. For example, if one is trying to lose weight and one reaches a plateau instead of giving up on the weight loss goal one can adjust their calorie intake or they can adjust the workouts that they're doing in order to overcome the plateau.

Make changes

Companies like Apple and Marvel have shown that making changes to corporate structure can be beneficial. When well thought out and well executed, change can bring about growth and it can help us regain momentum from the stagnation we may be experiencing.

Let go

Although it may sound contradictory, sometimes we hold on too long. The LEGO company sold its theme parks, changed the traditional way of making toys (wooden) and embraced plastic toys. By letting go, it managed to grow and later on, it launched LEGO land. Sometimes less is more.


Imagine if Henry Ford had given up after his first bankruptcy, or even the second. The Ford car would not exist. Imagine if the LEGO company had called it quits after the first fire, or the second, or the third, how many childhoods would have been robbed? Failure is inevitable when one dreams big. It is important to see these failures as learning curves and find ways to produce better results.

Practise gratitude

Reminiscing past wins and successes can help one regain faith in the plan. When we express gratitude for how far we have come it helps us to appreciate the effort and work we have put into the plan. This can help fuel our desire to see the plan succeed.

Take a break

Although taking a break can be seen as counterintuitive in today’s fast-paced world. Regardless, it is important to rest. Rest helps to improve our mental clarity, allows the body to physically recover, and it is linked with your emotional wellbeing.

It is essential to remind ourselves of the reasons behind our commitment to our goals. When we encounter obstacles, whether they be setbacks or stagnation, it is important not to lose sight of our objectives. It is important to approach these challenges with a positive attitude and a willingness to change our strategies, so that we can continue to make progress towards our goals.

  • Rutendo Kureya is a medical student at Saint Petersburg State Paediatric Medical University. She can be reached at [email protected]. Mobile: +7 996 274 98 66. She writes here in her personal capacity.

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