The Curse of Inertia
In January I had to return to Tampa to be present for more hearings concerning my still pending divorce.
I had a good time.
That probably sounds like bullshit huh?
Nope, I stayed with a friend in Bradenton, I got to hang out with one of my favorite strength and conditioning coaches, and I got to train at IMG while I was there.
Plus…I went to the beach, the zoo, yoga classes, and an On Being Human workshop that changed my life.
So yea, I had a good time.
But after one of my days in court I decided I wasn’t ready to drive back across the bay just yet so I stopped and had dinner at a restaurant at the International Mall.
I took a seat at the bar and began to unspool from the day.
Inevitably, conversation begins between three of us bar patrons and at some point between belly laughs, a spilled drink, and appetizers one of the men (who was in town on business to help another business adopt his software) says to us…
You know? If you’re stuck it’s your own damn fault.
And we got the back story about his company and how he grew it. And then the fella across from me shared about the humble beginnings of his masonry company and how massive he’s grown it and what it took.
I didn’t offer up any anecdotes. I just smiled, sipped, and nodded along.
But as I sat there I couldn’t help but wonder if he was right.
If we’re stuck…is it our fault?
We all know that person or those people who, no matter how much time has passed still seems to be in the same place.
Or maybe it’s you.
Maybe it’s been years and you’re still in the same place.
What if you’re stuck because of what someone else did to you? What then?
Or what about the people who seem to make huge strides but then seemingly let the progress go and settle back into their “before?”
What is that?
I’ll tell you what it is.
And this is physics.
(raise your hand if you’re surprised that Tianna found a way to introduce physics into this conversation? Cool- I didn’t think so)
Inertia has two definitions..
the physics one: a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.
That’s Newton’s first law of motion actually.
And then there’s a more layman’s definition: a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.
I have to tell you something else first.
I don’t know if you’re aware but I’ve been doing crash courses in different cities and states talking directly to athletes about how to get better at track and field. Each one has been 3-4 hours long and we cover five sections (all presented in the free ebook I wrote on the subject).
one section is called ATTITUDE. And it was within this section that I introduced Sir Isaac Newton, his laws of motions, and a few sexy equations into the conversation.
Why would I put a discussion on physics into a section on attitude you ask?
Because of inertia.
Because of what it takes to overcome inertia to be exact.
At the end of one of these crash courses I’m always surprised at how the attendees are surprised about the level of work, and the level of detail involved in self-improvement.
I’m even more surprised by the hesitancy I see in their faces to commit to the work. Like when we get to the digital detox section for example. I do a whole build up talking about sleep, and why we need it, and what actually happens when we’re sleeping, and how this is a critical time for us.
I end it by saying how we are disrupting that process with the electronics we’re using at night and in bed.
And at this point everyone’s nodding, and parents are kicking their kids under the table like, “listen up…”
until I offer up this suggestion:
dump your phone at sunset.
Or at the very least an hour before bed.
And suddenly that’s too big of an ask. Never mind all the benefits laid out beforehand as to why doing so is a really good idea. Never mind all the evidence I provided for why it’s a bad idea to indulge in.
Dumping the phone is too much work.
Because that would mean changing something you ALWAYS do and that requires more effort than most people are willing to put into themselves.
That, my friends, is inertia.
Newton’s first law of motion is this: 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.
An unbalanced force.
That just means more force has to be introduced in order to get that object to go from rest to motion, or from motion to rest.
If a balanced amount of force is applied nothing changes- in either direction.
Think of it this way…
I’m in the starting blocks in the set position.
The starter shoots the gun
I have to apply so much force to move my body from its resting position in “set” to clearing the blocks and initiating my race.
A lot of force.
Or consider a long jump takeoff…
If I don’t apply a helluva lot more force downward when I reach the board I wouldn’t leave the ground at all because I’m already applying huge forces sprinting as fast as I can.
In order to change the direction I’m traveling I have to apply EVEN MORE force than I’m already applying to get lift off.
Or what about that time just before you head out to do your first workout in a long time? How much effort did it take to get dressed for it?
Or how that first workout feels while you’re doing it after a lot of time off.
How much effort did it require to get to that gym? To get through that workout?
Or consider how it feels to schedule that meeting with your boss to discuss a raise after three years?
Or the strength involved in calling for and having that sit down with your significant other because something needs to change?
Seems like it takes so much effort.
This is inertia.
And you can’t give in to it. Because inertia keeps you still.
keeps you stuck.
Some of us quit because the level of difficulty or struggle involved in the change was unexpected. So we settle back down into the familiar.
Some of us quit because we believe that once we get on our “path” things are supposed to align in a way that makes it obvious that we’re headed in the right direction and when we don’t get that we assume we chose wrong and we give up.
The reality is, you’ve got to overcome your inertia.
Years and years of bad habits and negative thinking is going to require tremendous force and effort on your part to overcome.
You can’t just do good work for one day, get discouraged at how exhausted you are, and give up on yourself.
You can’t beat yourself up for how horrible your workout felt and decide “it’s not for you” after you’ve spent years eating poorly and not being active.
You have got to overcome the inertia.
It will take an unbalanced force applied in a different direction than the one you’re headed in now.
It will take a tremendous effort.
And you have got to decide right now if you’re worth it.
Because every minute that you’re on your ass not doing…
every minute that you’re down the rabbit hole with your negative thoughts…
every time you choose to lounge around all day and neglect things around you that you should or could be doing…
every time you do something like that you are making the choice to remain stuck.
Because you are actively making the decision to NOT exert the effort required to overcome your inertia.
That’s why, in my crash course, the physics comes in the ATTITUDE section.
Because the life you want is out there waiting to be created…
waiting to be manifested…
And the only way you can go from here to there is by applying force.
Applying force requires effort.
Effort requires willingness.
Willingness requires belief.
The belief that what you’re aiming for is going to be hard as hell to achieve but that it will absolutely be worth it.
And because we believe it’s worth it we will always find a way to
give the effort
produce the force
generate the strength
required to get started and to keep going.
Because once we get going….like Newton said it’s going to take a lot to stop us.