How to Use Frustration as Fuel For More Motivation

5 Powerful Ways to Turn Unpleasant Situations into Positive Outcomes

Learning how to use frustration as fuel for more motivation is a mindset that can be developed.

It’s not uncommon for us to have experiences regularly that cause us to get frustrated. If we don’t turn our frustration into more motivation, it may affect our progress towards our objectives.

Since we generate motivation from within, we have to ensure we’re doing all we can to have a healthy mindset.

Things That Trigger Frustration

Whenever we feel frustrated, it means there is a gap between what we’re experiencing and what we want.

Common things that can cause frustration are:

  • Being unable to do something we want to.
  • Having an experience we deem to be unpleasant or annoying.
  • Not having something go the way we expect it to.

By using frustration as fuel for more motivation or inspiration, we can continue making progress and accomplish what we want.

use frustration as fuel

When I first learned about creating websites, my skills were very limited. As I learned more about basic html and php coding (this is before we had the choices we have today with website themes and templates), I got increasingly frustrated, because there were so many things I didn’t know.

I’d oscillate between giving up for a period and persisting until I figured things out. I knew learning the fundamentals of website design and programming were important skills I needed.

I was able to use my frustration to learn one thing at a time so I could have a website to share my message. Even though it was slow and challenging most times, I learned enough to create basic webpages and websites.

As a result, I have been able to use those skills to share content online consistently for several years. That was an example of how I used an experience that was frustrating as fuel for more motivation so I could improve.

5 Ways to Use Frustration as Fuel For More Motivation

As frustration is a common emotion we experience, knowing how to use it to our advantage is beneficial. Here are five ways to turn frustration into extra motivation, without affecting us or others negatively.

  1. Pause and acknowledge what’s coming up. We shouldn’t make the fact we’re feeling frustrated to be a bad thing. Whatever we resist stays with us longer than we’d like. We can use frustration as a trigger to look at our judgments and what’s going on internally for us.
  2. Identify the disconnect or gap. Experiencing frustration often means something isn’t going the way we want. We can use it as a trigger to check what we expect at that moment. It could mean there is something we need to learn or do differently.
  3. Turn your expectations into appreciation. Having expectations can be a good and bad thing. It often comes down to our mindset or attitude in any moment. If we become aware our expectations are false or not practical, we can use releasing techniques to let them go. As we release them, we can train ourselves to be grateful for things that are going well for us.
  4. Refocus and recommit to what you want. Having emotions of frustration come up suggests something we’re doing isn’t working well. It’s the best time to revisit our plan so we can refocus on what we’re trying to accomplish.
  5. Take new actions. If what we’re doing isn’t working and is causing frustration, it’s a trigger to do things differently. This may mean we have to ask for help or improve what or how we’ve been doing things.


Just because we’re feeling frustrated doesn’t make it bad or wrong. It also doesn’t mean we have to force ourselves to keep going or push down our emotions.

If we can make a mental switch and identify what’s most important now, we’re less likely to lose motivation. If we’re unable to use frustration as fuel for more motivation, we’ll continue to be affected by external events or experiences. That means we won’t create the outcomes we want as easily as we’d like.

Action Step: Recall an event or experience you had recently that caused you to feel frustrated. Evaluate how you dealt with it and what you can do better next time you have a similar experience.

Question: What are other things we can do to use frustration as fuel for more motivation?

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