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Change is difficult and requires tension

· change,tension,conflict

In one of our concert grand pianos, 243 taut strings exert a pull of 40,000 pounds on an iron frame. It is proof that out of great tension may come great harmony. ~Theodore E. Steinway​

The more you avoid a conflict and a tension the more fear and resistance you build toward change. The more callousness and resentment you build inside you and becomes a part of your culture.

We sometimes numb the pain with something artificially “joyful” or “this makes me happy.” We hope that the least tension filled thing will make us happier and last longer.

Think about it like the piano. If the tension sits and no music is played, what happens over time? The beauty in the sound is no longer there. Actually, nothing changes and the music is never there. We can drink a glass of wine next to the un-played piano, but once the alcohol wears off, we are left unsatisfied. We say things like “I will never learn how to play this piano” or “why do I have this stupid
thing anyway”?

And really, the thought of playing the piano and actually playing the piano are two different things. If we sat down with the piano, flipped the cover up to gain access to the keys, and actively used our hands to press down on the keys. Music would burst forth from the instrument.

The music will start off choppy and probably not in harmony. Initially, we will probably be excited that we actually played the piano. We took the first step.

We have to remember though as Pema Chodron said,

mistakes are the portal to creativity, to learn something new, to have a fresh look on things.

What is interesting about making mistakes is that they are good. Just like “[c]hange is a natural part of life, and so is conflict.”

The strings on the piano when a beginner strikes the keys and your seemingly new adventure is in conflict.

Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict. ~Saul Alinsky

We all experience conflict every day in some form. We will unequivocally experience it tomorrow and into the future.

We can try and avoid it but when we do, the more indifferent we become. We can decide to face it or we can try and numb it. Or, we can make a try and possibly make a mistake. We can let other’s have permission to screw up.

And through both screwing up ourselves and other’s screwing up, we open “…the portal to creativity, to learn something new, to have a fresh look on things.”

I found some inspiration and from here, and maybe me saying this a little different will help you just as much as it has helped me.

I love watching live baseball. I really like going to the game and eating peanuts. I never break open the peanut shell, eat the peanut, and then immediately put the shell back in the bag with non-cracked peanuts. I always drop the empty shell on the ground.

For everyone, besides maybe the worker having to sweep up the stadium, it’s worth avoiding putting the shells back into the bag. If you did put the shells back into the bag, it becomes harder and harder to find a useful peanut every time you put the useless shell back in the bag.

It is so worth having a place to discard your shells.

This works the same when you are on a team or have a significant other. You can decide to say “that will never work,” with no exceptions, and in doing so you’re inevitably missing great opportunities — portals of discovery.

There are big differences between,

that didn’t work once, under certain conditions, and that will never work.

We all have given up on something or someone. We sometimes don’t see the value in trying under new conditions. We will do so again for a multitude of irrational and unexplainable reasons.


We sometimes don’t want to go through the process of learning to play the piano — to make music — because the conflict is “too difficult.”


We sometimes do the same thing with people. They challenge us and they now become a part of the discards — part of the movement where we don’t want to go.


What or who are you discarding but you know if you stuck it out, worked through the conflict, you would learn something new?