Isaac Newton and you – Part I: A not quite scientific approach to Newton’s law of inertia!
Do you ever struggle with procrastination?
Do you sometimes have difficulties getting started?
Do you often think and talk and plan…when what you need is to DO?
So do I…
But fear not. There is hope!
Most of you will be (at least vaguely) familiar with the guy called Isaac Newton. A few might even have heard of his so-called “law of inertia”. In simplest of terms this law states that, unless acted upon by an external force “what is in motion will stay in motion and what is at rest will stay at rest”.
Usually this is demonstrated with marbles, but I am convinced the same applies to human beings. It certainly applies to me! Let me explain:
Forget gravity, friction and all that stuff for a moment. As long as a marble (or a human being) is at rest, it will stay at rest without using much energy at all. On the other hand, should a marble (or human being) be in motion, it will continue moving in the same direction at the same speed forever without needing any energy to do so (we’re not considering friction, remember?). In other words: It is easy to stay at rest, when at rest and it is easy to stay in motion, when in motion. What requires energy is going from a state of rest to a state of motion: Getting started is what is so difficult. Let me rephrase that in case you missed it: The key to success here is that moment of going from rest to motion: Getting STARTED. That is what requires the energy. That is what takes will-power. That is what needs a kick in the backside. Once we start, things get easier. Or as Newton would say: “We’re on a roll”.
So to overcome procrastination it is important to understand that key moment between not doing and doing. Between rest and action. Between procrastinating and getting started.
One reason we struggle with procrastination is that in our heads we feel we need to come up with the energy for the whole task before we can start. We don’t. All we need to do is get up and get at it. We need to start!
Getting up out of the couch to go running is the hard part. Once we’re running, we might actually enjoy it.
Sitting down to start writing that chapter, e-mail or report is what takes the energy. Once we start writing, often the words just start flowing.
Whatever it is, usually if we could just GET STARTED, things would get a lot easier very quickly.
So next time you struggle to get started, remember Newton’s wise words: “What is in motion will stay in motion, what is at rest will stay at rest.”
It takes some energy to get started, but once you start it’s a lot easier to keep things moving.
Focus on getting started.
Let Newton take care of the rest.
Not your experience? Let me know what you think in the comments and wait for part 2 of Isaac Newton and you: “Friction, Momentum and Rest!!