Inertia seems a much-loved topic among creative people. Usually, you will find much advice about how to conquer it. In fact, I found a super article in Forbes that clearly outlines two ways to defeat this foe, either by facing it head on, or taking a break. And I found another article that outlined seven inertia-busting strategies, including shocking yourself into action. After all, on the other side of our inaction are all the goals and dreams for which we yearn.
What about the times when nothing at all seems to budge? This is where I’ve personally been struggling for a while. I have tried facing things head on, taking a break, and it seems like nothing can coax, soothe, or shock me into anything that looks like progress. And I want to figure out why.
The thing is, in our society, there seems to be little value, if any, placed on spending time in retrospect. It is almost frowned upon and denounced as an utterly useless exercise in self-obsession. I agree that while spending too much time in reflection can make progress nearly impossible, when we can not give ourselves the time we need to survey our situation due to the pace and demands of life, we may find ourselves in a space that seems even more unproductive and uncomfortable: limbo. As fun as the limbo might be dancing by bon-fire at the beach, it is not as fun in everyday life – especially when the general consensus is that you are already wasting time by trying to figure out how to get out of it!
Nonetheless, to better understand this transitional state, I felt it important to firstly delve into the science behind inertia. Well, there was not much delving. The science of inertia has become part of popular culture, because Newton’s first law of motion is used so frequently to explain how, despite our best human intentions, we are more than likely never going to carry out half of what we would like to accomplish – without some type of interruption, or shock. In fact, the other laws of motion are also regularly used in discussions about inertia as a life-state, and how to produce movement.
So where was I going with this? Inertia, how to overcome it, how to work with it, through it… Ah, yes. Well, in order to produce perceptible movement in your life – whether that be starting your screenplay, getting temporary employment to keep income flowing, going to the doctor about that thing you were hoping would fix itself – whatever the situations are that you’ve not been able to move forward – you will require all three laws of motion to get past that moment of inertia.
I hope this pseudo-science babble is making some sense. Because the point I am really trying to make is that sometimes moving forward is not as simple as doing a, b, or c. Furthermore, sometimes there is something we are supposed to be uncovering in that place of no movement. When we do not allow ourselves enough time to gather that information, it can turn into limbo, where, try as you might to take a step in any direction, you feel like you’ve been pushed ten steps backwards.
It seems that in all the popular discussions about overcoming inertia, it is rarely considered that we can actually accept – and fully embrace it. Inertia is a valid place we may have arrived at in our lives, because it might contain some valuable information for us as individuals. Where there is no movement, there is a greater potential for stillness and listening…
Hmmm. This post might be really all about meditation then, because stillness of mind and body are actually part of many practices. As a matter of fact, daily meditation is something I have had as a top priority on my weekly accountability list. There is evidence that it adds a wonderful benefit to my life, and yet I have systematically avoided creating this habit – because I have been too busy “shocking” myself into action.
Well, I had no idea where this article would take us when I started, but I want to close with some thoughts. There is no definitive solution to inertia and the subsequent state of limbo that may occur while trying to “overcome” it. In my opinion, inertia is not the enemy of progress, and is neither bad, nor good – it just is. And in the most immovable of situations, when the stillness is allowed enough space to just be, therein lies the potential for magic. Or not.
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Two Ways to Overcome Inertia, Sonia Kapadia, ( Forbes, Entrepreneurs – 8/22/2013 ) http://www.forbes.com/sites/soniakapadia/2013/08/22/two-ways-to-overcome-inertia/
Seven Ways to Overcome Inertia and Get Yourself Unstuck, Marelisa, http://daringtolivefully.com/overcome-inertia
Newton’s 3 Law’s of Motion, http://teachertech.rice.edu/Participants/louviere/Newton/law1.html