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November 30th, 2020

Lack of motivation, procrastination and general laziness is a kind of friction.  Appropriate considering the root of the word motivation is the same as motion, and friction is what hinders movement.  Buried within the divide between the cortex and the limbic system is a border similar to that which exists between objects that slide, or don’t slide.  This border is where we experience that obnoxious disconnect between all the grand plans we gleefully think about and the actual drive to get up and go do those things, it’s called Limbic Friction - or at least, this is how Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman has termed it.


The interesting thing about friction in the real world is that the more that friction is engaged over time, the less that friction becomes.  Of course, this doesn’t hold for everything, but we do see it a lot.  Stone steps wear smooth after enough treading feet.  An old piece of clothing becomes soft from use.  River stones grow smooth and round.


The same phenomenon occurs psychologically.  The more we push against that limbic friction - that resistance to do things, the less friction we experience later.  For example, doing something difficult in the morning, like taking an ice cold shower actually makes it easier to do other things later in the day.  We tend to think of it differently - that we only have so much energy and we’re best to expend it on the right things, but it’s the opposite with limbic friction.  The more we push ourselves to do - especially the difficult things, the easier everything else becomes.  In essence, we can make that transitional phase between inactivity and actually getting something done smoother by exercising that transition, and similar to weight training - the harder the better.

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