If You Aren’t Feeling Friction, You Aren’t Moving Forward

Some time ago, I had a conversation with an artist whom I deeply admire. She had received some criticism for a painting that “lacked historical accuracy.” Her critics then used this as an opportunity to attack her personally, calling her just about every name in the book.

When I asked her about it and how that made her feel, I was surprised by her response. She acknowledged her need to improve her art, but quickly added: “You know, I learned a long time ago that if you aren’t feeling friction, you aren’t moving forward.”

Moving toward the mountains.
Moving toward the mountains.

In the time since then, I’ve thought a lot about that simple sentence. And the more I think about it, the more I’ve come to understand just how true it is. If we are moving forward, we will feel friction. In fact, we should be concerned if we’re not feeling friction. Henry B. Eyring wrote that “If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.” We overcome the mountains in our lives by fighting our way onward and upward, not by floating downstream.

In recent months, I’ve developed a special appreciation for my battles with chronic depression. While I certainly don’t welcome depression, I marvel at what it has taught me about life. Climbing out of the darkest abyss has deepened my appreciation for the light at the summit.

So keep moving forward—especially if you’re feeling friction. The best things in life—like positive relationships with family, friends, and pursuing your talents—will almost always require the most effort. But the friction you encounter in your efforts will inevitably make you stronger.

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