Overcome Adversity

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What can friction in nature teach us about meeting adversity?

July 2017
Without friction in nature - all things would remain dormant.

There are times when you may feel that life is working against you. Holding to a clear idea of what you want, you may be challenged at every turn. Oftentimes, a change in direction or approach is necessary to bring about your success.

Success may seem like a continual upward climb, although it is often more of a circular journey. You may give in after a long struggle where this giving in reveals how the pathway could not have been otherwise. Forced to make minor changes, these changes become significant to your success. Your ability to open to the elements that shape your forward movement goes a long way in reducing anxiety.

The natural world reveals a necessary tension that keeps life evolving. Whether it is the positive and negative forces in atoms, or the changing weather patterns that renew the earth, friction is the driving force of evolution. Nature uses friction to transform non productive energy for re-use. It breaks up molecular bonds in water to produce rain, and the abundance of autumn harvests would not recur if the friction between the wind and leaves didn’t tug them from their branches.

Without friction working against your forward movement, you wouldn't be able to walk, drive and airplanes couldn't fly. Understanding friction inspires the idea that all that works against you shapes your forward movement. Sometimes you are forced to fight for something before you can realize its importance.

Be inspired by the potential energy generated by friction, and how it breaks bonds to release dormant energy. In electricity, the redistribution of electrons causes a change in their direction and intensity. Friction can change your direction and intensity too, so that you can move forward in more fulfilling ways.

The natural world reveals how all that opposes your forward movement also guides you forward. Adversity doesn’t work against you; it fine tunes your strength and sharpens your vision. It cultivates your inner certainty and sincerity in what you are doing.

During times of adversity, feelings rise and return clarity to your sense of direction, which can be misguided by thought alone. Feelings are what make life valuable. Like a finger plucking against a guitar string, adversity gives tonality to feelings.

To remain still in the face of adversity is to recognize that the closer you are to success, the more friction you may encounter. Pushing naturally brings you up against the opposing forces that would maintain the status quo. Life is composed of an equal balance between change and stasis. The most severe storms of spring break open the seed's protective shell and the creatures that have withstood the test of time are also life’s most successful.

Adversity drives life in its growth and limitations are the breeding ground for its strengths. Through adversity, your sincerity is tested and your vision is given definition. There is nothing more important to your journey than authenticity and sincerity in being who you are and doing what you are passionate about.

Through adversity, you have the choice to re-commit to your path or change direction. At times, adversity guides you to a more appropriate path. The reduction in tension that friction releases also helps you enjoy the journey. Friction in nature leads all things to evolve.

The gem cannot be polished without friction, 
nor can you be perfected without trials.

Exercise:
Make a list of the qualities that make you different from others. Notice how they are also the things that are unchanging about you. Notice how any difficulties you may have faced in the past - gave further definition to these qualities. Imagine a seed’s protective covering and how the dirt and rocks remove it - so it can blossom. Imagine a baby bird who must also take that fearful leap in order to fly. Beyond hope and hopelessness - adversity teaches you what you are capable of. Inside of you is a blueprint of everything you may become. Trust in how life reveals your strengths through the limitations you face.