Friction, Fuel, & Freedom

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

- Victor Frankl

Victor Frankl lived an amazing life, and his story should probably be the subject of its own message. In addition to being a Holocaust survivor, Frankl was both a neurologist & pyschiatrist and founder of Logotherapy, a concept based on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find meaning in life. His quote above is both a perfect summary of his viewpoint and the perfect launching pad for this week’s message.

Speaking of launch pads, let’s consider what it takes to get a rocket from the ground and into space. In addition to an amazing combination of ingenuity, technical brilliance, and courage; the physics of launch success often boil down to the ability to provide enough fuel while reducing friction. In other words, what can be added to the equation that increases the chance of success (the fuel), and what can be eliminated that reduce the chances (the friction)?

An examination of the intersection between Frankl’s quote and a rocket launch leads us to consider three important questions:

  • What are the sources of friction that prevent you from reaching your goals?

  • What provides the fuel for your personal and professional growth?

  • How do you use Frankl’s “power to choose” in a way that brings “growth” and “freedom”?

If your Friction includes the things that slow you down, how will you recognize those? And more importantly, how will you reduce the Friction? Like the NASA scientists working on the Apollo program, you should constantly be probing to identify potential sources of Friction to your success, like their study on the Effects of Lunar Dust on Apollo Missions. Here on earth, companies design the user experience on the e-commerce sites to sell you more things.

On the other hand, if your Fuel includes the things that push you forward, how do you recognize yours? My last message about “Time, Talent, & Treasures” can probably provide some insight, helping you to shine a bright light on the things you value most. One of the beautiful things about Fuel is that we are surrounded by it. We have instant access to more information than at any point in our history. The traditional gatekeepers to knowledge and growth have been circumvented by the ubiquitous nature of the connected world. As Gary Vaynerchuk discusses in this short video, the internet of things has created a platform for growth unlike anything that has ever existed before. If the gap between where you are and the freedom you seek is knowledge, consider adding fuel to the fire from the wealth of information we now have access to.

Which brings us to Freedom, which in Frankl’s viewpoint is represented by the choices we make to classify something as Fuel or Friction. Have you suffered a setback professionally through job loss, demotion, or stagnation? Has a recent injury interrupted your fitness goals? The lens through which you view these events decides whether they become Fuel or Friction. Your Freedom is in your ability to choose, so choose wisely.

Always aiming for the stars,

Michael Mueller, PGA

PGA Career Consultant

Proudly Serving the Carolinas Section



Fuquay Varina, NC

©2017 by Michael Mueller, PGA