How Friction Makes the Essential, Effortless

I loved the post below from Greg McKeown on how friction makes the essential, effortless.

You can see the original post here. Greg’s 1-Minute Wednesday series is worth a follow.

Here’s the story:

Cambridge is a picturesque city with lush green spaces, public walkways, and pedestrian paths. 

But it hasn’t always been this way. 

Just a few decades ago, it was dominated by busy streets, traffic jams, and the sound of cars navigating the city. 

But recently, Cambridge has taken steps that serve as both an incentive for residents to switch to more sustainable modes of transportation and also as a way to enhance the city’s aesthetic appeal. 

They did this by implementing measures that make it more challenging to drive while also making it easier to cycle and walk. 

They’ve closed certain streets to motorized vehicles and increased the size of the sidewalks. They’ve reduced parking spaces and replaced them with beautifully landscaped parks, public spaces, and cycling facilities.

Slowly, this strategy has taken effect.

The restrictions have encouraged many residents to rethink their choices and consider alternatives. The result has been a return to a more livable and enjoyable environment. 

What can we learn from Cambridge’s example? 

Setting boundaries and increasing friction for habits we want to eliminate are powerful tools for achieving our most important goals. 

By making it more difficult to engage in unhealthy habits while simultaneously making it easier to adopt better habits, we can create an environment that supports our personal growth and well-being.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • Write down one habit you want to eliminate and what habit you want to replace it with. 
  • Post this in a highly visible place as a constant reminder. 
  • Create tiny obstacles for the habit you want to break (e.g., put the T.V. remote in a drawer in your bedroom, or remove your social media apps from your smartphone’s home screen). 

Like Cambridge, you can influence the outcome positively by tweaking your environment.

A really great thought if you’re wondering how to implement change in your business.



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