Momentum Versus Inertia

Momentum is force or speed of movement. Inertia is a state of inertness, which could be sitting still or being in motion, without changing direction.

We had a thunderstorm last night at 430am, and since I was already awake, I thought I would get an early start on the day. Though I’ve gotten a lot of things done, and generated several good ideas, I’m starting to feel a little stupid. Maybe I shouldn’t be writing my blog post right now but it’s too late. I’ve started and I want to see where this goes.

I’m noticing a number of coincidences this morning. I have a 1994 edition of a little book that is “Daily Reflections For Highly Effective People.” The reflection for today is about synergy, and how combining two things makes both of them stronger. That’s what I’m starting to notice about my tool. It isn’t just a daily planner, its also a journal and a reminder and idea collector. And being an ENTP with a high KAI, ideas are floating up to the surface all the time. So it has a way to capture those ideas and find them again.

Then there was the blog post from Seth Godin, which I get as an email every day, and sometimes multiple times a day. He was asking “how do you know when it’s done?” I’m going on vacation in a few days, so I have a deadline. I don’t want to take my laptop, so I would love to make my new application fully functional on my iPad. But I am going to run out of time. So as a backup, I’m going to take along one of those composition notebooks that kids use in school, the kind with not so great paper that bleeds through the page if you use the wrong ink. I’ll use that to keep working on my habituation and routineuation (my new word for the month) so I don’t lose the momentum I’ve already established. Yes, it would be wonderful to have a new MacBook Air to take along with me, because then I could keep doing development on my tool on the laptop. But I need to test my discipline while I am on vacation. I’m going away for two weeks to be with my sister and mother, and in the second week, my brother and his family, and some cousins. I need to find out how my underlying method works for people who might only have a book that explains my ideas and expects people to work with nothing more than a cheap composition book and a pen.

Don’t get me wrong: I love technology, especially stuff with an Apple logo. But I know that most people aren’t going to want to spend over a thousand dollars on a MacBook Air, and half that amount on software they would need to get the most out of it. I wouldn’t be doing them any favors if they just didn’t have the reserves of inspiration to pursue their passion. They have to overcome inertia to get moving in any direction at all, much less muster the energy to change something about their future.

But if I understand what it takes to do my process on paper, following a guide that gets them to step back and look at where they are going, I will probably have a better chance of selling them on the really big ideas I want to pursue. I just can’t dump it all on their desk and say, “Here, do this stuff and I’ll be back in a month to see how you are doing.” They wouldn’t even do that if I paid them, much less do it if they had to pay me.

I’m pretty confident my analog version of my tool will work on paper with a pen. But I’m taking my iPad with all my data along with me, so I have a place to record the improvement ideas I come up with while I’m away. I might get a few fixes implemented so that I can get more done while I’m laptop free, but that isn’t the point.

I’m going on vacation to determine my vector and rate of change. Do I have five weeks of momentum built up or 60+ years of inertia to overcome?

When I figure it out, you’ll be able to read about it here.


One Response to “Momentum Versus Inertia”

  1. Kay and Larry Thomas Says:

    Well, John, I would say in reply that a writer composes all the time, everywhere and most importantly in his head. Long before a piece gets written it has been churning around with different twists and turns. Sometimes those first early attempts at jotting notes down will end up just as that, but it has warmed up your brain.
    The problem as you see it is the daily routine of getting words out of your head. A composition notebook works just as well as a MacBook Air, because it is your voice you are capturing for posterity. I stress the word, routine, because it is an activity that you do that becomes a force of habit without any pushing whatsoever.
    I write in a combination of ways from journaling by hand-very soothing to my soul, to blogging and personal observation essays on the computer. All I know is that I cannot withdraw from my habit of writing, anymore than I can from reading. It would be painful.
    So, go out and enjoy your vacation with lots of good conversations and connections. Your will be taking it all in and as the thoughts come out, write in the school notebook.


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