What Can We Do About Rushing and Frustration


Managing rushing and frustration “in the moment” is not just an issue for people on a machine or working outdoors. Even office workers can be subject to these states of mind that affects their ability to perform and can even lead to serious injury.

Low Levels of Rushing and Frustration

With low levels of rushing and frustration, our executive brain can “step–in” and deal with any impulsiveness. The interesting thing about this is that our capability to do this well (or not) depends largely on how often we have done it in the past. People that control their impulsivity do so not because they feel the effects any less, but rather because they have learnt to manage this through deliberate practice

High Levels of Rushing and Frustration

With high levels of rushing and frustration, the neural networks are so laden with neurochemicals that it is much more difficult for the executive brain to intervene.

That doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it, it just means that more deliberate practice is required than with low levels.

For example, you are running late to an important meeting and the driver in front slows you down because he is looking at a mobile device while driving. You speed to get around him and your frustration adds aggression to the journey.

Now granted, most of the time you get to your destination without incident. Once there, the rushing stops and the frustration dissipates within seconds.

Because you got away with it again, the behaviour is reinforced and it becomes increasingly difficult not to do it next time

Imagine what would happen if every time you rushed or got frustrated you hurt yourself badly. How many of these would you need to change what you do?

For most people, not many.

What Can Be Done

Here’s three ways you can help your workers recognise the dangers:-

  • Help them appreciate that rushing and frustration can be a major risk in anything they do (not just at work, but also at home and on the road).

  • Discuss the effects of rushing and frustration openly in safety meetings.

  • Conduct training that provides workers with the skills required to recognise it quickly and be able to do something about it.

Better planning can avoid or minimise rushing and frustration. But life doesn’t always follow the plan, even if one exists

This blog is an excerpt from Third Generation Safety by Cristian Sylvestre.

Cristian takes what neuroscience is revealing about how the brain functions and explains how our human limitations impact our personal safety and what individuals and organisations can do about it. Download section 1 for FREE

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