Ever been in the ocean and standing in waist-high water, with your back to the waves and before you know you, the water gently picks you up and literally moves you? Maybe been travelling up a steep incline on a roller coaster and as soon as you crest the top of that hill and look out below, you are propelled forward and nothing can stop you?
That is what momentum does. It moves you.
The ocean that carries you…
Growing up in Southern California, I spent many days at the beach, especially Newport Beach and Corona del Mar Beach, where the sun was hot, the sand was hotter, and the ocean provided a cool refuge. The waves would force all of to stake claim to the sandy bottom so we did not drift out to sea. Surfers are forever fighting the momentum of the crashing waves and the depths of the water as they challenge themselves to conquer the “big one”. Mostly speaking, if we were in the water, we would turn our backs to the waves to cut down on the amount of water that hit us in the face. No one likes the taste of seawater. But on occasion, we would turn around to see what the next wave looked like and we would hurry to try to beat it before it broke to make the impact less. I did that many times. Diving under the wave made it easier than getting tossed around, spinning out of control, not knowing which way was up. Hoping I could find the surface. In those moments, the thrust of the water had also taken me down the beach so that I no longer saw anything familiar. Getting my bearings and starting to head back to my original location was not as easy as it was to put me there in the first place.
What is momentum?
Momentum is made possible because of science — where the mass of an object becomes relative to the velocity that the object travels — and that relationship between the two is carried out. But only so far. Momentum is not something that will sustain itself forever. The speed will quickly die and the object will come to a stand still.
Newton’s first law:
A body at rest will remain at rest,and a body in motion will remain in motion.
Who has ever started something?
There is not one of us that has not begun something in our lives. Plenty of us could say we didn’t finish something, but all of could say we started something. We started college but never finished. We started to condition for the football team but quit just before the season. We started to follow a dream but let it fall to the way side because other obligations got in the way. Ever started a book and never got to the end? How about started a do-it-yourself project for the basement, but it still just has the framing up and nothing else.
Why don’t we finish? Is it because we forgot the end goal? Did we become lazy? Was it not important anymore? Chances are it is a combination of reasons, but the main one is that we ran out of momentum. The energy required to keep something in motion has ceased to exist and so we let it slowly come to a stop.
We run out of what is needed to maintain the momentum created behind finishing a basement, following a dream, or rebuilding a car. We come to a stand still. And just like with anything else that has failed to keep up its speed, we must start again. We must start over. And each time we do, we must create the same power needed to get where we need to go.
But we need to remember that we have to continually feed the way we are going to get something accomplished. It will not happen on its own. When we are at the top of a roller coaster and the force of getting pulled up there by chains and motors, we know what comes next. All of the strength needed to get us to this point will carry us back into the station and will make sure that every other little dip and turn in the track will not stop us from seeing this ride til the end. The engineers have figured out the maximum tork and inertia needed to make this ride a success.
Enough about science…
So what does an ocean current and a roller coaster have to do with me? I don’t live near the ocean and don’t like roller coasters. We use momentum in everyday life and may not even know it. It takes more effort to stop and start something than it does to maintain it, even if it is at a slower speed. Moving forward is moving forward, no matter how slow. Baby steps count too. There are days when I think a turtle can do more than me. But if we let the momentum of life take us where we want to be, then the excitement that comes with it will generate more enthusiasm and then the momentum will carry on. The effort to keep us headed in the direction we wish to go.
Wanting to get somewhere is the first step. We cannot ever get anywhere without the want to be somewhere different. But that is where that stops if we don’t move. Sometimes, that movement is created from inspiration provided by others, but the motivation to move comes from within. We have to make it move. Let the momentum that comes from the an idea propel you to some place different and new. Allow the determination commit you to finishing that basement. Get busy with the invisible force needed to see this through. For once and for all.
Do not be discouraged…
Just because something is not moving, it doesn’t mean it will never move. You just start again and before you know it, things will be moving again. Once we get things headed in the right direction, it will be just like the wave and the roller coaster….it will be very difficult to stop. Momentum is progress and will do its job well once put to it.
What do you want to get started on? Don’t know where to start? Start anywhere!
Michelle A. Homme 2014 ©