Loving Friction

We don’t like studying hard as much as getting good grades. We may not like the climb up a mountain as much as the view on top. When things gets difficult in school, they sometimes tells us to try harder but more often, they come to the conclusion that there’s another mountain you can climb. So if you’re not so good at a sport, don’t bother; if you can’t make it for the auditions then just find something else instead. Maybe the exception is the most basic stuff in academics; though there are exceptions: if Chinese is too hard, do Chinese B instead.

We want things to go our way; if we can get to the outcome without the process, we rather have just the outcome. We dislike friction in relationships, in life. But we forget that just about everything is held together because of friction. We can raise a glass because of friction; every step we make on the ground is made possible by friction. We need to learn to embrace the friction and the process more than the outcome.

Don’t get me wrong; being outcome-oriented is not a bad thing. But if we forget it is the process that takes us to the outcome, then something is wrong. A culture that emphasises results at all cost compromises on the process for the outcome. This is why people desire to cheat, or to study only for the test. The fact an entire education industry blossomed on the back of grades and results testifies of the fact. If only we can create a culture that embraces the friction a bit more; if only we can say “If it ain’t easy, it’s changing me” rather than “If it ain’t easy, it isn’t for me”.

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