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Dissatisfaction isn’t the Problem – How to Handle Dissatisfaction

If you aren’t currently disappointed with someone or something, you will be soon.

Aspiration is dissatisfaction.

Dissatisfaction is inevitable. Collecting unhappiness is a choice.

Make dissatisfaction useful before it suffocates effectiveness.

5 reasons dissatisfaction multiplies:

#1. Forgiveness isn’t in your toolbox.

Your dissatisfaction bucket gets heavy because you never pour anything out.

#2. Powerlessness is your way of showing up.

You feel you can’t do anything about your dissatisfaction.

#3. Confusion about the nature of dissatisfaction.

Think of dissatisfaction as motivation, not a thorn you can’t remove.

#4. Adapting is something others do.

You expect people to adapt to you, but you don’t adapt to others.

Those who can’t adapt always become dissatisfied.

#5. Dissatisfaction that you experienced dissatisfaction.

The habitually dissatisfied justify, prolong, and magnify dissatisfaction, even after resolution.

When issues are corrected, you think, “It’s about time.” Or, “You shouldn’t have screwed up in the first place.”

Habitual dissatisfaction continues, even after concerns are resolved.


Your dissatisfaction bucket gets heavy because you don’t know how to deal with the realities of organizational life and relationships.

People who deal poorly with unhappiness accumulate unhappiness.

Eventually, you get to the point where it’s not worth it and you walk away.

Begin with you:

On a scale of 1:10, how frequently are you dissatisfied? 10 = all the time. 1=almost never.

What level of dissatisfaction is acceptable?

Dissatisfaction is part of organizational life. Avoid being dissatisfied with yourself when you experience dissatisfaction. You might also avoid anger, resentment, worry, and other soul-sucking emotions.

Anonymous feedback:

Ask your team, “On a scale of 1:10, how frequently do you sense dissatisfaction from me?” 10 = all the time. 1=almost never.

Team discussion:

  1. How much dissatisfaction is acceptable?
  2. What are useful ways to deal with dissatisfaction?

How might you answer the above questions?

Bonus Material:

How to Survive in an Unhappy Workplace (HBR)

10 Ways You are Causing Your Own Unhappiness (Psychology Today)

What to do if You’re Miserable at Work (CNBC)

6 Strategies for Managing a Cynical Team (The Muse)

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