The number one cause of us getting stuck in a rut and being unable or unwilling to pursue our passion is inertia!
Inertia is what makes us gain weight one ounce at a time, get out of shape one day at a time, and move backwards (at least not forward) in life. I think inertia is a gremlin in our psyche that is used by our brains to keep us stuck in our old ways. (Remember the movie Gremlins where a cute cuddly creature turns into an ugly ravenous beast?) And like any negative being, this gremlin slowly erodes our life until change becomes an unscalable mountain!
Wikipedia.com defines inertia:
Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion… Aristotle (around 335 BC to 322 BC), stated that in the absence of an external motive power, all objects (on earth) would naturally come to rest in a state of no movement
Answers.com talks about science and Newton’s first law:
- Physics. The tendency of a body to resist acceleration; the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force.
- Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change: the inertia of an entrenched bureaucracy.
Do you ever feel caught in a state of inertia? I think it is humanity’s natural state and it becomes the perfect excuse for inaction.
I believe that inertia is the number #1 plague on our society (and our ego uses it to keep us stuck)!
Take a glance at the self-help or business development section in your local bookstore – it’s huge. And every book on the shelf talks about action, plans, making changes, and it’s all simply words on the page until you overcome the inertia in your own life.
Here’s where I see inertia in my life:
- I know that I need to sell my house because it is so large there are rooms I never go into. But… (here’s the inertia part) it means cleaning out 3 stories of accumulated “stuff” including a garage of stuff left by the ex and grown children; repairing door jams scratched by dogs from years past; putting the house up for sale in a depressed market; finding a new place to live; accepting that I have to start over without equity; packing up remaining things; etc. — Inertia provides excuses that keep me stuck!
- I deserve to increase my income tenfold! My income is stuck because other people control my time. This is the inertia gremlin providing me with a mountain of handy excuses. I need to counteract by marketing myself so that I can demand up front deposits from the companies I work for and impose penalties when they cancel bookings for project management courses on a moments notice. My gremlin argues that I don’t have the marketing skills to do this (help!);
- It is hard to trust strangers when you’ve been burned. Do you ever feel like you walk around with a big “Take advantage of me” sticker on your back? It can be hard to trust contractors, friends of friends (who purport to do good work) and others to do repairs or renovations because of unethical people we meet for air conditioning, pool service, home repairs, etc. For me, I realize now that this is what my “inertia gremlin” uses to keeping me from taking a chance on a new contractor.
- I need to get out more and find new activities. If you’re like me and work alone, live alone, my kids are grown, my family are states away, am happily single, and you don’t have a plentiful source of new friends at school or elsewhere, your inertia gremlin can wreak havoc on your psyche. While I volunteer at many charity events in my area to get out and meet people, my gremlin tries to convince me that it’s all for naught and I’ll end up alone in the end anyways. It takes action to get out of this potential rut!
Goal setting is one way of addressing your own inertia gremlin, but unless we take action (even baby steps) the gremlin wins.
What do you think? Is inertia a part of your life? Have you found ways to overcome your inertia gremlin?
Have a nice weekend – and go out and do something fun for yourself!
Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.
Copyright Carol Dekkers 2010…