Disappointment is less disappointing than Frustration

  • Disappointment , Frustration are very commonly used words ; especially in the context of Performance management or Stress management . Probably we use them interchangeably without much bothering to think what does each mean & if they both mean the same
  • Before I do my ‘ sense making ‘ on this , I searched dictionary , to find following :
    • Disappointment : “ Sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations.”
    • Frustration : “ The feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.”
  • In the least I note from dictionary that while Disappointment is to do with ‘ non fulfillment ‘ ; Frustration is to do more with one ‘ inability ‘ to achieve something .While I agree with this ‘ reading between the lines ‘ ; to me there is a vast and fundamental difference between what is disappointment & what is frustration . Here is my take , my Sense making
  • Disappointment v/s Frustration
    • I agree that disappointment is about not achieving something ( result / outcome ) ; frustration is about one’s inability to be able to achieve
    • Disappointment is related to an event , a transaction , whereas frustration is about a person’s state of mind
    • Therefore disappointment is a transient phenomenon , frustration is likely to be relatively permanent state of mind . If we ( rather loosely ) use analogy of Change & Transformation , where a change is transient & reversible ; transformation is permanent – similarly in case of disappointment , frustration
    • They are also likely to be ‘ sequential ‘ … it probably takes a series of disappointing events to reach a state of frustration
    • Consequentially disappointment ( hopefully ) leads to action ; frustration is a dead end ; it leads to inaction
    • You can overcome stage of disappointment ; frustration turns you into permanent ‘ negativity ‘ … you tend to speak only negatively & link everything to your frustration .
  • Reason for me to seek this clarity for you is not just for your Knowledge . If you recollect my earlier post on KURI …. I want you / more & more people get a better understanding of this fundamental difference between the two terms & importantly reach your ‘ Realisation ‘ , which will prompt an action .
    • Understanding here is that Disappointment & Frustration are two fundamentally different states ; one takes you to action , other to inaction
    • Realisation from this can be : Since Frustration is sequential to Disappointment & it is a Dead-End , once reached that — it is almost non reversible ‘ disability ‘ of mind ; one needs to be alert at any Disappointment to address it quickly – not let it simmer & set into Frustration , which will be a  Point of NO Return ; hence one should proactively never allow him/ herself to reach that stage
  • Before I sign off , I thus urge you to not just sit on this useful Knowledge , but pick your Realisation & move into Action , so that you never become frustrated in life !


I found that approaches / outlook different people hold for work or even life can be categorized into two distinct buckets : Trader mentality or  Businessman mentality . The way I am using this terminology here ; the words : Trader , Businessman , do not denote actual professions they represent , but to describe ‘ mentality ‘ or ‘ approach ‘ with different people

Since I believe ; ‘ What you do ‘ is a function of ‘ How you see ‘ ; people with these two mentalities have two distinct , different pattern of behavior , let’s see how

  • Revenue / money drive :
    • TRADER : is focused on how much money he is making … not necessarily from where it is coming or if this has any consistent direction . He should be happy , as long as xx number of transaction giving yyy revenue is clocked every day . As a result , a Trader may not develop or may not be known for any skill ( e.g. a Fruit seller , but not as Mango Expert or Orange expert ) As a generalist , trader will neither command a Brand , nor a premium – will be moneyed , but he is faceless to his customers & customers are faceless to him
    • BUSINESSMAN : is focused on a ‘ Line of Business ‘ … has a sense of purpose & direction & getting deeper into it , will eventually develop that skill in the desired field & will be known for his expertise . Premium comes from being a specialist
  • Transactional :
    • TRADER : As long as he is meeting the revenue target it does not matter if the same source / customer is coming again & again . It could be a completely different set of customers every day , as long as the revenue output is met . Way of dealing is transactional
    • BUSINESSMAN : Repeat sales is very important for the Businessman . It is important for him to have many of same customers to come again & again . Way of dealing is transactional
  • Profit outlook :
    • TRADER : Has to maximize profit in EVERY transaction …. Since business for him is a Sum of individual transactions . That is why a ‘ Trader ‘ says ; “ Goods once sold will not be taken back “
    • BUSINESSMAN : Optimises profit for the business over a period ; not for each transaction , every day . Hence a businessman may not mind taking one step back to go two steps forward
  • Focus :
    • TRADER : Focus is clearly on self . Likely to be rude / arrogant & ego driven
    • BUSINESSMAN : Focus is customer . Likely to be polite , accommodative,not  ego driven
  •  Now if you understand the two approaches clearly , just think : not just in business / work ; but also in our personal life , don’t we see people using these two different approaches in handling people & relationships