The Importance of Inertia
Concepts you’ve learned in the past are stored in your subconscious, waiting for just the right moment to influence your life. These moments serve as a reminder that often we go through life hearing when we should be listening. Take for instance Sir Isaac Newton’s first universal law of motion which beforehand I was only hearing but just now began to listen:
“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
To keep it simple, this law of motion can be summed up into one word: inertia — the natural tendency of objects to resist changes to their current state.
The concept of inertia holds much truth, but on a grander scale than science alone. This concept lends itself applicable to one’s own life direction.
Momentum is powerful. At times, life’s momentum can feel as if it’s speeding up and taking over. Perhaps leading us further and further down a path we might not believe in. This path might be the path of others, perhaps even the path of people who you care for and who care for you, but you know deep down that it’s not yours.
“Leaders must wake people out of their inertia. They must get people excited about something they’ve never seen before. Something that does not yet exist.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Where the analogy between the law of motion and life’s momentum ends is in one obvious loophole: we are not objects — we’re humans. We have the power of choice and the control over our own free will to combat inertia. The fact is, is that no matter how many forces might be acting upon us at a given time, the only force that should decide your present self is your own.
Often, we stand hesitant, waiting for outside forces to come in and take us in a new direction. In our relationships and careers… we’re always waiting. Waiting for these forces to guide us into better situations and out of worse ones.
Leverage the following steps to aid in propelling yourself into the right direction (much like a business might determine its own direction):
- analyze the unexplored, desired inertia (develop mission/vision, market research, R&D)
- experience the inertia (implement, execute, market)
- evaluate the explored inertia (review consumer feedback loops, goals and statements)
- continue or discontinue the momentum (reinvest, or adapt/pivot/divest)
Please — stop waiting. Only you have the forces necessary to guide your life’s momentum. Assess your inertia. Do not stay at rest, but do not travel down a path that’s not yours. If you’re going to let life’s motion build momentum, make sure it’s by your own choice.
Likewise, if you’ve identified your inertia is desired, keep riding that wave. You’re right where you need to be.