Failing to Act and the Friction that stops us

My last blog post was all about how I was going to attempt 40 Acts over lent and write about it as I went.

That kinda never happened and I got stuck at act 2.

I’m not going to have a massive guilt trip about this, but it is quite a disappointment. But it’s also got me thinking about a word/concept which keeps coming up, both in work and personal situations: “Friction”.

Friction is something that I’ve come across both in website user interfaces (Facebook talk about “frictionless sharing”, for example), but also in psychology. I saw an interesting article (I don’t think it was this one, but it’ll do) about this recently. I use an app called “Lift” (available for iOS, Android) to try and build positive, daily habits into my routine, and I’m astounded by how rubbish I am at doing positive, simple tasks on a daily basis. And I’m convinced that “friction” is the problem.

In A’ Level physics I learned that the coefficient of static friction (the force required to get a stationary object moving) is often greater than the coefficient of dynamic friction (the force required to accelerate an already-moving object). Once moving, and object is easier to get moving more!

I think that the same is true with people and habits.

Here are some of the causes of friction that stopped me doing 40 Acts:

  • Work – and being busy and dedicated to my work
  • Family – having a feisty and demanding toddler who I love to bits
  • Travel – daily habits are hard to keep when you travel or go on holiday and your routines get messed up – we had a long weekend away just after starting Lent which got me off to a bad start
  • Weather – sounds odd, but I think the weather, and the changing seasons, change my behaviour a lot
  • Distraction – the dreaded mobile phone and all the many forms of communication that constantly seek our attention in a highly digitally-literate household

I still have the 40 Acts emails stored up. I may, possibly, still try to work through them and write about them.  But to do so means removing, or overcoming those friction points.

We shall see.