We often think of friction as bad. Friction prevents us from doing something we might want to accomplish. On my other blog, I write about frictionless releasing. We often want to avoid friction at work. The less friction we have, the easier it is for us to work together and release products.
And, sometimes, friction is just the thing we need. I use friction for several things:
- To prevent problems, such as falls. If I use snow boots with good traction in the winter, I’m not likely to fall. Same with sneakers in the summer.
- To reinforce good habits. If we have a little friction, it’s easier to do the right thing. For example, I don’t keep chips in the house. I love chips. They do not love me back. If I create friction to eating them, I’m more likely to succeed in my eating goals.
- To gain strength. We gain strength when we challenge ourselves. If I never had to do more than I was capable of at any given time, I would not get stronger over time.
Most often, I think about the difference between friction and ease. I create systems in my work and life so I have ease. If I want to gain strength over time, I introduce friction.
So, what don’t you want to do? And, maybe how can we turn them around to see them as positives?
I want to stay upright, so I exercise more (which involves friction), and wear good footwear (more friction), and watch/am aware where I’m going (more friction).
I want to stay on my eating plan, so I only buy food I want to eat more of. (The friction is the extra work in going to get the unwanted food.)
Let’s talk about building strength.
I build physical and work-based strength. We all know that we have to exhaust muscles and then they grow. (That’s a simplification, but just sitting around does not build muscles.)
What about work-based strength? I use both ease and friction.
I often start challenging work in small timeboxes. I realized I had trouble writing fiction. I started with a 20-minute timebox. Too big. Went down to 10 minutes. Still a little big. I only succeeded when I decreased the timebox to 5 minutes.
I know a timebox works for me. (It might not work for you). Now, I can build ease. My current system is 14-minute timeboxes for fiction. (Yes, 15 minutes is still too big for my fiction muscles.)
I’m writing a short story now that challenges my capabilities. I’ll grow through this, as long as I finish the story. I decreased my timebox duration so I don’t have to succeed as much. And, I write like a madwoman inside those timeboxes so I can get through this challenge.
For me, the challenge of this writing is the friction. If I use all my tools to finish the work, I will end up growing at the end. The tools offer ease. Finishing the work is the friction and helps me grow.
That is the question this week: Where do you want friction in your life? (and I have a story to finish
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