Hardening a piece of steel is a unique and fun experience, and at the end of the process you have a stable, trustworthy tool that can serve you well for a life time if you do it correctly.

The art of heat treating steel is also metaphorically similar to our own challenges and struggles.

First you heat the steel up to almost 2000° F…

The molecules in the steel are going insane, it’s glowing red, and very sensitive to pressure. Does that sound familiar to when you are stressed? Blood pressure through the roof, sweating, angry, and sensitive to anything?

Next, you pull the steel out of the kiln as fast as you can, going from 2000° to 72° in milliseconds, followed by clamping it in between two thick cold plates of aluminum.

The molecules get shocked into place with the rapid change, and make the steel incredibly hard. Just like a trauma or stress reaction could harden a person.

The part to note here is that although the steel is extremely hard, it is also brittle. The slightest impact could make it snap…

The steel then needs to be tempered down. This is the process where you reheat the steel up to 500°, and let it rest for 2 hours in the kiln. This allows the molecules to relax, while still retaining the strength.

This tempering process is recommended to be completed twice to allow for ideal strength and flexibility…

So in dissecting this process into your daily life:

Difficulties, trauma, and stress will harden you faster than you are ready to accept. This stress hardening makes you brittle, and easy to break.

It is the long, difficult tempering process that brings you down from being brittle- while remaining stronger for it.

So when you are shocked and brittle, take the time to “temper”. Soak in the uncomfortable. Face your thoughts. Meditate through your daily actions.

You will arise stronger, less brittle, and more flexible in the long run for it.

It’s science…


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