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Turning Friction Into Polished Perfection

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you bounce back from adversity. Reading time: 2:46.

          The rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat snap of a polishing cloth seemingly fired like the rhythmic shots from a machine gun. A shoe shine professional led the attack on those leather shoes.  With passion. And pride in work well done.

         Those shoes, squealing under the siege of that polishing cloth, took a beating and came out beaming. Just like a leader.

         Next time you feel the friction in the marketplace, the next time you feel someone is trying to rub you out, take a look at the shine on your shoes and appreciate the value of friction.

      Instead of wearing you down, friction can rev you up.

        Consider the beating that Don Shula took in becoming the first pro football  coach to lose two Super Bowls in embarrassing fashion.

       In the 1969 season, his Baltimore Colts lost to Joe Namath and the underdog New York Jets in one of sport’s all-time upsets, 16-7, in Super Bowl III.

      And in the 1971 season, Shula’s Miami Dolphins set the Super Bowl record for the lowest score and for longest to be shutout in a game. Miami finally scored with 3:19 remaining in its 24-3 loss in Super Bowl VI to the Dallas Cowboys.

     But Don Shula battle back the next year in 1972 and coached the Miami Dolphins to the first unbeaten, untied 17-0-0 record in more than a half century of the National Football League and went on to win Super Bowl VII.

       Beaten, battered and bruised, the Miami Dolphins battled back stronger than ever before for  a perfect record that still stands 40 years later.

     The Dolphins, playing their way from the outhouse to the penthouse in 12 months, seemed very much like a sheet of paper that gets better after a beating. The pulp is beaten with revolving iron bars. The more it is beaten, the finer the paper.

    Press on when the pressure is on. Think of yourself as if you were like so many  sweet herbs that give their fragrance best when pressed time and time again.

    Think of yourself like coal that turns to diamonds when pressed over time.

    Think of yourself as the strongest steel that is forged in the hottest fire. No wonder the Chinese proverb says: “A gem cannot be polished without friction nor man perfected without trials.”

     Trials and troubles can provide an insight that sparks renewed vigor and vitality. Richard Nixon, writing in his book In the Arena, recalled viewing the Grand Canyon for the first time in all its splendor. He hiked down seven miles below and looked up to see an even greater splendor. Nixon observed: “Only when you have been in the depths can you truly appreciate the heights.”

   Especially when your muddied and scruffy shoes are now polished. With pride.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Think of friction as a force you can leverage to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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