“There’s a problem with the doorknob,” she said. “It seems to be stuck. But…” I watched her grasp an imaginary doorknob in her hand and crank it violently back and forth, as though she were attempting to pop off the head of the Mayor of Whoville, “…if you force it really hard, it will open.”

I thought about her statement for a long time. Something about the energy of the words and the graphic gesticulation of her hands stuck with me. I felt disturbed. Even though she wasn’t meaning for the tale to be a violent one nor was she even conscious of the implication of her choice of words, I was bothered.

A short while back, I wrote about my experience of forcing my mocha mix and the messy result of that experiment so it’s possible that the reason it caught my attention so strongly is because “force” was already on my mind.

However, a few realizations bubbled to the surface as I pondered the interaction. These are the things I know to be true about “force” …

  • If something is stuck, perhaps something is broken and needs to be fixed.
  • If something is stuck and you force it into action, you can cause irreparable damage.
  • Some things that are stuck can never be forced to move and, by continually attempting to force it to move, you are destroying the very things needing to stay in tact if there is any hope of repairing it.
  • With the proper support and the correct technician, things that are stuck can be gently fixed, returning them to their whole state easefully.
  • Some things that are stuck cannot be fixed, no matter how much they are forced – or even if there is proper support and the correct technician. Removal and replacement is necessary in these situations.
  • Force will most assuredly result in destruction.
  • Anything that requires force to move is probably not the best route to take.
  • Sometimes things just wear out. Repeatedly forcing that thing to perform at a top notch level, when it is worn out, will rarely produce results that are in alignment with your expectations and, if it does turn out as hoped, it will take much longer and it will be inconsistent.
  • If the “something” that is being forced is YOU, it is time for a change. Start with you first.

photo credit: Jer Kunz via photopin cc

(This post was originally written on 1/9/2013 and posted on a now-closed site)

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