The Law of Inertia
What is the Law of Inertia?
The best way to explain it is “momentum”. Inertial is a physics term that relates to an object in motion or not in motion, and the fact that it wants to keep remain that way.
Inertia lends itself really well into the world of business and life in general.
Instead of physical motion specifically, we look at action or activity. This can be work performance, thought, behavior patterns of action or existence, or the lack of.
Whatever you are doing in your life, career, family…, those thoughts (positive or negative) or actions (action or inaction) want to continue as they are, whether they are good or bad for your goals.
In other words, it can be difficult to change; especially in the beginning.
Lemon TheoryTM is about incremental change over your lifetime—in other words, making small alterations to your life that add up to massive change with regard to happiness and success…living the life you want.
The exciting part about inertia is that once you’ve worked on changing something for the better, it becomes the ‘new normal’, and has the tendency to persist and support your long-term goals. In other words, it becomes easier and easier to do more things that support your life goals!
Just as inertia can be to your greatest advantage, it can also be to your greatest detriment. If, for example, you decide to not exercise. It will become more challenging to exercise. This applies to everything we do and don’t do.
You Can Control the Outcome
Inertia is not constant. It increases or decreases. We are not in a vacuum in the real world. We have forces, both mental and physical, all around us. Knowing this can be very powerful because YOU CAN CONTROL THE OUTCOME!
A poor attitude about yourself produces a negative outcome. Life becomes a struggle of invisible opposition. It leads to less activity, procrastination and failure.
It is important to constantly replace negative thoughts—that tell you to give up, give in, it can’t be done—with positive thoughts. Because when you support the things you want to achieve with positive reenforcement, the tendency grows to continue doing those things. They grow stronger and gather momentum!
Using the Law of Inertia, you can strengthen yourself to become dominant and keep you on track.
In order to do this, you have to push yourself to do things even when you don’t feel like it. This should be done by starting with one or two manageable things. Support them and keep them going. Then, you can add on another thing, and another, until you have your efforts all going in the same direction.
The beauty of inertia is the “momentum”. It becomes easier and easier to maintain each activity. If you’ve ever looked at someone and thought they were superwoman or superman, it’s simply inertial in full effect.
Because of the impulse to stay the way it is, like tops that never stop spinning, (as you add more positive motion activities, they begin to maintain their inertia), you are able to add infinite actions over time.
Of course, you will have to pick up and get something “spinning” again now and then, but the overall theory of inertia is the tendency to remain the same. Set things in motion—like start exercising or going to bed earlier and getting before the sunrise, putting out a positive attitude, etc.—and all of those things will tend to stay in motion.
You are going to have bad days where you just don’t want to work on your tasks. The best way to get out of this mindset is to just push through. When you do, you will validate, support and confirm to yourself that you are a real action-taker.
The first time is always the hardest. Then it gets easier. The more you do it, like spinning a basketball on your finger, it keeps going and doing the impossible. It comes down to mental toughness.
Mental toughness can be described as the ability to remain steadfast to your goals through willpower.
How do you develop the mental toughness necessary to ward off negativity and keep going, no matter what is happening around you?
There are six components you can develop and strengthen that will help you to be more mentally strong and steel yourself with resolve.
Here are the 6 components needed for mental toughness:
Let’s take a look at each of these…
To get what you want, you have to “initiate” or start actions that move in the direction of your goal. That means start right now!
Don’t wait around for anyone or any thing. Don’t sleep on it or wait to talk to someone else to see what they think….
The time to start is right now!
When you put something off, you tell yourself you are not capable of making your own decisions, Hesitance is a form of self-doubt and insecurity. Waiting causes you to strengthen those negative traits.
When you start, you will utilize the power of inertia. Writing a book starts with the first few words. So, just make a start, and then keep it going.
But what if you can’t make a start right now? What if the thing that you want to do is just too difficult for you?
Never believe that anything is too difficult for you. Just make a start on it. Most things are nowhere near as difficult as they seem at first. Break a large task down into smaller components and make a start, which is the operating basis of Lemon TheoryTM.
If you have too many things on your daily “to do” list and don’t know where to start, this can overwhelm you, and it can lead you to starting nothing. So in this situation, you need to develop the second component which is…
As an example, you have 7 tasks you want to complete today. Which one do you start with?
I recommend that you start with that task that is most important and will weigh on you all day if you don’t do it.
Maybe this is paying an overdue bill, responding to an important e-mail or telling someone something important. For some reason you have been putting this off, and the pressure builds up the longer you wait.
You do not want to have this kind of unnecessary pressure in your life, so just do this thing first. If something is stressing you out, then it will be hard to concentrate on your other tasks. You will feel so much better afterwards and empowered to get the other tasks done.
The next priority is to choose the easiest task on your list. Maybe you have always been told to tackle the most difficult thing first, but I do not agree with this. By tackling something easy, you build momentum to move on and use the Law of Inertia to your advantage. Remember, “small alterations for big changes lost-term”.
This does not mean you should procrastinate over difficult tasks, of course. They need to get done too. It’s just a lot easier to tackle the more difficult tasks when you have the momentum and feeling of accomplishment from already completing a few tasks and there’s less stress.
So after a task that is going to stress you out if you don’t complete it and completing the easiest task on your list for momentum, you need to take a look at the remaining tasks and prioritize them in order of importance. Then do each one in order.
The ability to concentrate fully on what you are doing until it is complete is one of the most powerful tools for your mental toughness. Understand that it is more difficult now to focus on things than it ever was before because today’s world is full of distractions.
Make sure that you avoid obvious distractions. Don’t try to work on your tasks with the TV blaring in the background. Similarly, it will be really tough for you to complete your tasks in a room full of people who are talking. You know the things that will distract you, so be sure to avoid them.
It is almost impossible to not be distracted some of the time. When it happens, handle the distraction and refocus back onto what you were doing again. Don’t get pulled off in some other direction or task. Put that new matter on your “to do” list. If you are the type of person who has a wandering mind, then keep refocusing until it becomes second nature.
This is another great mental toughness component that’s really important to develop. Persistence wins wars, produces gold medals and trophies, creates multibillion-dollar companies and finds cures for diseases.
Persistence is the exact opposite of giving up.
When you give up on something, no matter how small, you let yourself creep downward, withdrawing from life. As the Law of Inertia shows, this will make you more likely to give up again in the future.
Why do people give up on things?
One of the most common reasons is fear of failure.
It’s important to remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. We all have to suffer temporary failure in order to reach beyond ourselves to where we want to be. Ask any successful person and they will tell you they failed more than they succeeded in order to get to where they are today.
Tom Brady, viewed as the most successful quarterback in football history, has thrown 191 interceptions. Peyton Manning threw 251. Babe Ruth struck out most of the time. The list goes on and on like this. Failure is nothing to avoid. It is what makes us improve. It is part of the evolution of success.
We all feel like giving up at times.
If you are in a situation where you feel like giving up, take a look at WHY you are doing what you’re doing. There has to be at least one really good reason why you are doing it.
This will light a fire under you and give you the motivation to keep on going. Stand up and move your body. Do something energetic, like clap your hands and say out loud “Okay, I can do this!” to give yourself renewed energy.
Keep working on your persistence. It is a very valuable mental toughness component to have. You will never get what you really want if you keep giving up or procrastinate. Persistent people always win in the long-run.
You may be wondering why this would be necessary for mental toughness? It is very important to review what you are doing regularly to see if you are on the right track. If you don’t do this, then you can spend a lot of time and energy moving in the wrong direction.
Let’s say that one of your goals is to lose weight. One way to review this is to step on the scale regularly, like once a week or every morning. But there is more to it than that. It’s necessary to take note of the important things. Does your new regimen make you hungry and tired? Are you feeling healthier through what you are doing?
When you review the things that you are doing, it will tell you what is working and what isn’t. You can do more of what is working while taking a different approach with the things that aren’t working out as you expected. So, plan regular reviews of your progress toward your goals. You really need to know if you are on the right path or not.
Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are disorganized. But if you take a look at your workspace or apartment, if it’s messy, then we can agree that you are disorganized to some degree.
If there is disorder in your life, it will affect your progress. Imagine needing to complete a task that involves things you can’t find anywhere. What if you needed to drive to work but couldn’t find your keys? How stressful is that?!! When the things you need to work are nowhere to be found, it slows progress and creates unnecessary stress.
There is no magic wand to wave for better organization. It is just something that you have to work on. The biggest helper on this is giving a location for everything you deal with—everything… even your keys.
When you receive or create a new computer file, save it in a place where you know you can easily find it in the future. Don’t just save it randomly. Over time, you can build up thousands or even millions of files on your computer.
A simple folder system will work. Each time you work on something new create a new folder for it. It will only take a few seconds to do this and will save you a lot of time in the future when you need to refer back to the important files that you have.
Designate a place for your keys, for your pens and pencils… everything. And then always put things back where they belong.
Organize all of your important papers as well. Use a small filing cabinet or home organizer so that you can easily locate things. Turning your home upside down to find a document is very frustrating and will put you in a bad mood.
The Law of Inertia is your secret to creating a life where things go your way more and more. When you set good habits through mental toughness, you develop productive ways of doing things that become good habits. Stick with it and you things will get easier to do and you will eventually look like a superwoman or superman to others.