Creating Friction

It is sad to say that we live our daily lives on autopilot, but that’s the truth. We follow the same routine day after day entangled with our goals, dreams and complaints. Sometimes slight deviations occur and throw us off, yet the next morning comes bringing us back on schedule. So how do we move forward or make real change in our lives?


Listening to my favourite podcast the other day, the speaker mentioned creating frictions. Things that throw us out of autopilot like not sleeping with our phone at night, meditating upon wake up, exercising or something else. Anything that causes us to think about our next move rather than just automatically doing it.

Listening to the speaker say how to do this is so easy. Especially, simple tasks like putting my phone away while I sit to write or read in addition to putting it on my desk at night rather than right next to my bed. Even focusing on productivity instead of far fetched dreams of new car parts, travelling and tomorrows workout. I know these are not what one would label “far fetched,” yet to me they are because they take me out of the present. As this happens, my day starts to become filled with time-wasting tactics like scrolling Instagram, sending snaps, as well as surfing the web. Thus, autopilot all over again.

If you are like me, then you understand how frustrating this is to try to get out of bad habits and end up focusing on them even more in the process. By engaging in this type of focus, we end up burning up all of our potential energy. As this happens, all we do is give in rather than continuing on the productive path.

Instead, we should catch ourselves in the act and make a conscious choice to do something else or pause to recollect our thoughts. Rather than wasting energy focusing or fighting with ourself, I know this is easier said than done, but a step in the right direction is to have mental check-ins throughout the day. At the end of every task or beginning of them as a way to keep going forward. Maybe have a daily journal to write down what you do each day to aid in changing how the next day goes.

It’s a Process

The first few days of this will be frustrating, annoying and every other emotion that makes you want to scream. Yet, do not let these emotions get the better of you nothing worth it comes easy! When these emotions arise, pause, take a deep breath or two to calm down and then continuing switching tasks or whatever you were about to do. As long as you become less like a machine going through the motions, that’s progress in the right direction no matter how small. I can tell you first hand that it gets easier, even though there will never be a time that autopilot goes away. It’s ingrained in us and almost a default setting to prevent friction in our lives.

That said, frictions are where the magic happens and if you do not believe me. I challenge you to create some for the next week, at least one day. Guarantee you will start to make positive changes.

Posted by

Ethan is a self-motivated McGill graduate with strong technical expertise, social & digital marketing experience. His work relies on strong communication skills and experience interacting with various levels of stakeholders. Skills: Adept at creating device-adaptive websites and compelling e-commerce stores. Over 8 years of experience in communications, videography and web design, with a thorough understanding of cross-media processes from concept to completion.

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