When momentum’s on your side, you feel invincible. You feel unstoppable. It’s referred to in all facets of life. For example, as you watch a sports game, it’s only a matter of time before one of the announcers brings up momentum; which side has it, and whether they can hold on to it until the game’s end to clinch the victory.
Have you ever taken a closer look at what momentum is all about? If it’s that great, how can we reproduce it in everything that we do?
In physics 101, momentum is simply (or not so simply) defined as:
The more mass and velocity an object in motion has, the greater the momentum or:
Velocity x Mass = Momentum
Much like in physics, our goals and objectives have their own kind of momentum. Momentum, whether relating to physic or our own tasks and goals, operate under certain parameters and constraints. I argue that the same elements that work against gaining momentum in physics work against your projects and goals as well. For example, the larger the mass, the harder it is the get moving and gain momentum.
Let’s take a closer look:
Mass in physical terms is weight that’s usually measured in pounds or kilograms. In our framework, mass is the amount of work you need to do. For example, in most cases a project has a bigger mass than a task; a 3 year goal may have a bigger mass than a project. It all boils down to the amount of work you’ll need to invest.
I suggest that when dealing with “mass”, it’s all about planning: if you can’t break down the mass into movable pieces, you’ll never get the velocity you need to achieve momentum. If we plan properly, we can get our massive project going by moving all the smaller massed actions. Remember the other end of the equation as well: make sure you plan your entire project so that when your project gains momentum, you want to keep feeding it, e.g., have actions lined up to execute when the time it right.
Velocity is all about the “force” you need to invest in a task taking into consideration the forces that may be working against you.
When there’s a lot of mass, there’s a lot of potential velocity laying in wait. However, to achieve immediate velocity on the entire mass, you’ll have to invest a considerable amount of force that you probably don’t possess. That’s why it’s better to start from little “mass elements” or actions.
Here’s a quick example: finishing your post-doctorate thesis may seem like an overwhelming mountain to move. You may not have the energy to get this project going, and it may seem so overwhelming that you simply can’t get it started. However, the force you need to handle the first action—initial brainstorming with a professor—is quite feasible. The force you need for the first action is significantly less than finishing your thesis. Remember, it’s all related: less force to move smaller actions. Many actions moving will increase the overall mass and help you gain momentum.
It sounds simple, but there are items you need to be aware of that can work against you!
You need to apply the force in the correct direction. Imagine trying to get a car across a finish line that is 100 yards directly in front of you. The obvious answer is to always apply the force in the same direction, and the same applies for your projects: make sure that all of your actions are getting you to the same end result.
Failing to plan, doing the wrong things at the wrong times, and forgetting actions entirely are all forces that will work against you, ultimately lessening your momentum.
Resistance is a killer. Imagine moving the car across a flat road versus an uphill road. There’s a big difference, right? Be watchful of the friction causing elements in your life: Are you tired? Are you eating right? Are you exercising? Are you organized? Do you have an application that will help you manage your actions and projects? All these and more, if not handled correctly, will have a negative impact on you. They are elements that are working against you and preventing you from gaining personal momentum.
I won’t delve into greater detail, expanding about things like escape velocity, the difference between kinetic friction and static and even diving into inertial mass (measured by the amount of resistance of an object to acceleration): those could be the subjects of other posts.
Now that you know what momentum is all about, use it to your advantage.
Until next time.