California Investment Network

Recent Blog

Pitching Help Desk


"Thank you very much for the extra input with my Restaurant/Nightclub proposal. I already have a couple investors who are requesting more info, and that's less than 24hrs after submitting the proposal to you. I am very pleased."
Rodrick Agcaoili

 BLOG >> Recent

Frustration is Good: Part 1 [Entrepreneurship
Posted on July 30, 2014 @ 08:03:00 AM by Paul Meagher

In my previous blog, Wishing Well, I briefly touched on the relationship between wishing and entrepreneurship.

In this blog and the next, I want to examine the role of frustration in entrepreneurship where frustration can be defined as the flip side of wishing that occurs when you engage in action to fulfill a wish but you are thwarted in your efforts. The emotion that generally accompanies this situation is frustration.

Frustration is good. Without it, we wouldn't 1) come to grips with reality, 2) achieve wishes of any significance, or 3) experience heightened satisfaction with life. There are quite a few blog postings on the frustrations that are common or unique to entrepreneurs, but I'm not aware of "frustration and entrepreneurship" actually being studied much in any academic way. It might be interesting, for example, to see how successful entrepreneurs vs 1st year university students deal with a frustration task (e.g., unsolvable anagrams task) to see if entrepreneurs persist longer or react differently (e.g., more or less anger, ascription of cause to internal or external factors, etc..). As far as I know, we don't know the answer to such basic questions regarding how successful entrepreneurs deal with and process frustration.

One surprising place we might find some insight into the role and operation of frustration is in psychoanalysis. A book that examines this in some detail is a book by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips titled Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life (2012). The ensuing set of blogs on frustration and entrepreneurship will draw upon insights from this book. The book itself elicits a large range of reader reactions from positive to negative. The negative reaction's appear to come from the frustration that he does not offer solutions to life's frustrations, instead mostly literary and psychoanalytic analysis of the nuances of frustration. I'm not offering solutions either, just discussion that might stimulate some deeper thinking on the topic of frustration and entrepreneurship. The title of this blog, Frustration is Good, suggests something that appears not to be true - and it might not be - but it serves the purpose of stimulating some thought on the role and purpose of frustration.

In this blog, I want to address the claim that without frustration we cannot come to grips with reality. This is a basic principle of psychoanalysis and the primary text to consult is Freud's Formulations on the Two Principles of Psychic Functioning (1911). In Freud's analysis, as a child grows up it needs to distinguish between the fantasy world it lives in and reality, and the key experience that puts the child in touch with reality is frustration:

whatever was thought of (wished for) was simply hallucinated, as still happens every night with our dream-thoughts. It was due only to the failure of the anticipated satisfaction, the disillusionment, as it were, that this attempt at satisfaction by means of hallucination was abandoned. Instead, the psychic apparatus had to resolve to form an idea of the real circumstances in the outside world and to endeavor actually to change them. With this, a new principle of psychic activity was initiated; now ideas were formed no longer of what was pleasant, but of what was real, even if this happened to be unpleasant. This inception of the reality principle proved to be a momentous step.

Lets take this out of the early development context and think about the role of frustration in later life. Here Adam Phillips has some wonderful prose to describe the critical role of frustration in later life.

We need to bear with, to know about, our frustrations not simply to secure our satisfactions but to sustain our sense of reality. In the psychoanalytic story, if we don't feel frustration we don't need reality; if we don't feel frustration we don't discover whether we have the wherewithal to deal with reality. People become real to us by frustrating us; if they don't frustrate us they are merely figures of fantasy. The story says something like: if other people frustrate us the right amount, they become real to us, that is, people with whom we can exchange something; if they frustrate us too much, they become too real, that is, persecutory, people we have to do harm to; if they frustrate us too little, they become idealized, imaginary characters, the people of our wishes, if they frustrate us too much, they become demonized, the people of our nightmares. And these, we might say are two ways of murdering the world: making it impotent or making it unreal. If this was quantifiable we would say that the good life proposed by psychoanalysis is one in which there is just the right amount of frustration. (p. 29-30)

The process of raising funds can be a frustrating process for an entrepreneur. The investor is not the cardboard character you might have imagined him or her to be. They are real people with certain demands that might appear to be designed to frustrate you in your wishes, but might also help bring you closer to fund raising reality and the accomodations you must make to eventually realize your goals.

My goal in this blog and the next is not to claim that a psychoanalytic interpretation of frustration is correct; it is to dabble for awhile in some of this literature for possible insights into the relationship between frustration and entrepreneurship. What I will claim is that it is worth spending some time reflecting upon the role of frustration in entrepreneurship because if we can become more mindful of the positive role of frustration, perhaps we can work with it to become more successful as entrepreneurs.




 June 2020 [4]
 May 2020 [1]
 April 2020 [2]
 March 2020 [1]
 February 2020 [1]
 January 2020 [1]
 December 2019 [1]
 November 2019 [2]
 October 2019 [2]
 September 2019 [1]
 July 2019 [1]
 June 2019 [2]
 May 2019 [2]
 April 2019 [5]
 March 2019 [4]
 February 2019 [3]
 January 2019 [3]
 December 2018 [4]
 November 2018 [2]
 September 2018 [2]
 August 2018 [1]
 July 2018 [1]
 June 2018 [1]
 May 2018 [5]
 April 2018 [4]
 March 2018 [2]
 February 2018 [4]
 January 2018 [4]
 December 2017 [2]
 November 2017 [6]
 October 2017 [6]
 September 2017 [6]
 August 2017 [2]
 July 2017 [2]
 June 2017 [5]
 May 2017 [7]
 April 2017 [6]
 March 2017 [8]
 February 2017 [7]
 January 2017 [9]
 December 2016 [7]
 November 2016 [7]
 October 2016 [5]
 September 2016 [5]
 August 2016 [4]
 July 2016 [6]
 June 2016 [5]
 May 2016 [10]
 April 2016 [12]
 March 2016 [10]
 February 2016 [11]
 January 2016 [12]
 December 2015 [6]
 November 2015 [8]
 October 2015 [12]
 September 2015 [10]
 August 2015 [14]
 July 2015 [9]
 June 2015 [9]
 May 2015 [10]
 April 2015 [10]
 March 2015 [9]
 February 2015 [8]
 January 2015 [5]
 December 2014 [11]
 November 2014 [10]
 October 2014 [10]
 September 2014 [8]
 August 2014 [7]
 July 2014 [6]
 June 2014 [7]
 May 2014 [6]
 April 2014 [3]
 March 2014 [8]
 February 2014 [6]
 January 2014 [5]
 December 2013 [5]
 November 2013 [3]
 October 2013 [4]
 September 2013 [11]
 August 2013 [4]
 July 2013 [8]
 June 2013 [10]
 May 2013 [14]
 April 2013 [12]
 March 2013 [11]
 February 2013 [19]
 January 2013 [20]
 December 2012 [5]
 November 2012 [1]
 October 2012 [3]
 September 2012 [1]
 August 2012 [1]
 July 2012 [1]
 June 2012 [2]


 Agriculture [72]
 Bayesian Inference [14]
 Books [15]
 Business Models [24]
 Causal Inference [2]
 Creativity [7]
 Decision Making [15]
 Decision Trees [8]
 Design [37]
 Eco-Green [4]
 Economics [12]
 Education [10]
 Energy [0]
 Entrepreneurship [65]
 Events [2]
 Farming [20]
 Finance [25]
 Future [15]
 Growth [18]
 Investing [24]
 Lean Startup [10]
 Leisure [5]
 Lens Model [9]
 Making [1]
 Management [9]
 Motivation [3]
 Nature [22]
 Patents & Trademarks [1]
 Permaculture [36]
 Psychology [2]
 Real Estate [2]
 Robots [1]
 Selling [11]
 Site News [18]
 Startups [12]
 Statistics [3]
 Systems Thinking [3]
 Trends [7]
 Useful Links [3]
 Valuation [1]
 Venture Capital [5]
 Video [2]
 Writing [2]