Sources of Irritation and Exasperation – The Naughty List

Don’t make yourself special by making your exasperations unique. You might think your frustration outshines the irritation of others, but you’re not that special.

Exasperation is common to all, even if specific causes differ.


Do you experience recurring frustrations? Maybe you should stop waiting for the inevitable.

The naughty list:

Give yourself 15-minutes to list your irritations and exasperations on paper. (Take all the time you need.) Record specifics. You might write, “The VP of Marketing sets goals without talking to me,” for example.

My naughty list contains the following items and more:

  1. Anyone who doesn’t do what they say.
  2. People who can’t see beyond the end of their nose. (Short-sighted, self-centered people.)
  3. People who manipulate for personal advantage or just the simple pleasure of it.
  4. A belly that is bigger than I would like.
  5. People who don’t give me the admiration I feel I richly deserve.
  6. Talking about money.
  7. All complainers. (It is not lost on me that I’m complaining right now.)
  8. Braggarts, along with people who like wearing ties.
  9. Arrogant people who think they can do things they’ve never done.
  10. People who don’t work as hard as I do, but think they work harder than me.

4 lessons from the naughty list:

#1. It’s good to occasionally think about things you don’t like. Things you ignore keep happening.

#2. Irritation and exasperation usually concern people. The world might be better with a few less people in it.

#3. Recurring frustrations continue until something changes. Maybe I should stop waiting for the inevitable!

#4. I prefer thinking about things others should do. Responsibility is medicine for grownups that requires personal action.

Tip: If you create a naughty list, don’t post it on the company bulletin board or the Internet. Best to shred it.

Try making two lists – irritations you have control over and all the rest. Burn the rest.

What’s on your list of irritations or exasperations?

What does your list teach you?