Psychologist Albert Ellis developed the concept of “Low Frustration Tolerance” (LFT) as part of a greater theory on procrastination as it relates to cognitive behavior.
LFT is a peculiar form of self-defeating behavior. By habitually avoiding short-term frustrations, unaddressed issues and unfinished work grow into much bigger, much more stressful problems. As a sufferer of LFT continues to dodge small, tedious tasks, they inadvertently grow them into large, dreadful problems. Once the problems are bigger, the aversion to the work is greater, building an ever-growing mountain of work to be done (and an ever-growing mountain of stress to match).
Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT)
Seeking immediate pleasure or avoidance of pain at the cost of long-term stress and defeatism. Short-term psychological hedonism. (Albert Ellis also jokingly called it “can’t-stand-it-itis,” as in “I just can’t stand it!”)
High Frustration Tolerance (HFT), on the other hand, is a much better trait for productivity, not to mention mental health. Those with HFT can tolerate the frustration-filled tasks required to do their work and meet their long-term goals. While they’re not delighted with the short-term tedium, they have much bigger things to be happy about in the end.
What is your frustration tolerance? Have you run into “can’t-stand-it-itis” at work?
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