Overcoming Inertia

This is the 47th article from my 230 days of blogging challenge.

Change is difficult. Change is scary. And every time we’re forced to change, our first reaction is resistance. We try to hold our ground. We stick to the old ways of doing things, even if we do understand, rationally, that we may have to adjust.

No matter how difficult or scary a specific change is, what makes it even more difficult and scarier is our own resistance to it. Our inertia.

In today’s post I’ll try to look at a two ways to overcome this, building on top of this Wikipedia definition:

Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its velocity. This includes changes to the object’s speed, or direction of motion.

1. Lower Resistance

The first approach is to lower your resistance. In physical terms, you’re keeping your velocity, but you give up on your direction.

It’s the “go with the flow” approach that we read so much on the “flower power” side of our world. Just let yourself carried away, and, in the end, the Universe will take care of you. While this might be technically true, and the Universe will take care of you at some point, I find this approach a bit too loose.

A certain amount of resistance is necessary, if only to test the new waters. A certain amount of ground holding is required, if we want to maintain our verticality. So, although I started with this approach, I wouldn’t advise to use it unless you’ve been through a lot in your life, and you understand yourself very well. You will be in a better position to assess the risks.

2. Adjust Speed

The second approach would be to adjust your speed. In physical terms, you keep the direction, but you lower the velocity.

The faster you move, the easier would be to lose balance, even at the smallest nudge. If you slow down, you gain a little bit of control over your movement. That’s something I observed in many life situations. Sometimes, all you have to do is to decrease the speed, and, almost magically, the world will suddenly be clearer.

The only drawback of this would be to stop completely. There is this tendency towards complacency, towards avoiding risks and covering yourself in a blanket of apparent certainty, in which doing nothing, saying nothing, expecting nothing will protect you, because, well, if you do nothing, nothing will happen to you. But that includes also the good stuff. If you do nothing, nothing good will happen to you either.

Some Examples, Please?

Let’s say you’re forced to change jobs. A global pandemic turned the world upside down and now your old job is not available anymore (or it started to pay peanuts, and you can’t survive on it anymore). What would it be to manage this change by using any of the approaches above?

Well, if you lower your resistance, that would mean you’re starting to observe new opportunities, on similar fields of expertise. You’re keeping your velocity, in the sense that you’re still ready to do whatever you did before, but now you look at related positions. Maybe you’ve been a journalist, but now you start to look for a job in content creation. You start a little bit of job hunting.

On the other side, if you go for the second approach, you would take some time off. You would simply step back for a month, or two and try to better assess the situation. If you can afford to do this, I would go for that. The sudden shift in today’s world is still happening and there is a lot of uncertainty. Waiting for a while on the side, might, counterintuitively, prove more useful in the long run than chasing new opportunities.

Image by kirkandmimi from Pixabay 

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