Perhaps you want to head off to explore a distant land, or start that online business you have been thinking about.
What is stopping you from doing all the things you want to do?
Financial constraints? Time Constraints? Or worse yet, have you just given up on doing the things you want?
Perhaps you are waiting for the right day?
Or perhaps you just don’t believe you are capable of doing the things you want to, because, well, you are just not capable of doing them.
Carol S. Dweck in her book Mindset says that we are all capable of doing anything we put our minds to. First, you just have to really want it. Second, you have to put the time and energy into it. But most importantly, you have to believe that you are capable of achieving it.
Read that again – we are all capable of doing anything.
You might be thinking that ‘yes, we can all do anything – within reason’.
Dweck did studies on people you would think might be disadvantaged. Her findings showed that the things we tend to believe lead to people being disadvantaged – less social support as children, lower social status, lack of education or money; all have very little to do with what we are capable of achieving.
So, if this is true, then what stops some people from achieving to their potential? Why do some people believe they are capable of doing things whereas others don’t.
Are you Fixed, or Open?
Dweck found, not surprisingly, that those with who believed it ‘was possible’ for them to achieve something, or had an Open Mindset, could achieve. Those that believed they could not achieve things, or had a Fixed Mindset, usually did not achieve their potential.
A few years back I bought a boat and a book on sailing and I sailed down the west coast of North America. I really knew nothing about ocean sailing.
The kids and I would stop in different ports as we made our way from Vancouver to San Francisco, to San Diego and eventually down into Mexico.
Wherever we went we came across other sailors who had started the same trip we were on, but had stopped. The longer they would be in one spot, the less likely they would leave the next day.
If you go to just about any marina down the coast you will hear the story of the guy (woman, couple, family) that had sailed in 20 years ago and had not left. They will tell you that they just loved it there and did not want to leave. However, in most cases they had planned on leaving, but eventually, one of the killers off all enterprises set in – Inertia
Inertia is the opposite of Action. It is an incredibly powerful force. It is energy manifested as resistance.
It creeps into our lives insidiously and manifests itself in excuses such as ‘I can’t go on that trip right now because (one of my favorite lines) ‘I have so much going on right now…’.
Inertia is: ‘I have to study this subject more'; ‘I have to learn more about it’. ‘I don’t know that well enough’.
I can’t start that new company because I don’t know enough yet. I can’t write that book because I don’t know where to start. I can’t do this because I am too young, I can’t do that because I am too old.
I am not competent enough. ‘I am not capable’.
Kinetic energy is Energy In Motion. If you throw a baseball in outer space it will keep going at the same speed forever. Here on earth we have physical and psychological resistance.
How do you beat Inertia? Embrace Kinetic energy. Get in motion, and once you are in motion, you have a tendency to keep going.
When I was sailing down the coast, just about every port we came to we had to stop to get some work done on the boat. The sail was ripped or the toilet was plugged, you name it. Days would always slip into weeks. The best laid plans to pull into a marina for a couple of days never materialized.
But then I would always meet the resident contingent who had stopped ‘for a couple of days’ like we had, but had never left. It would scare the bejesus out of me. So, whether we were really ready or not, we would leave.
Inertia can kill any dream.
The same is true for the online entrepreneur. It is easy to become overwhelmed. Should I worry about what my website looks like, SEO, Google Adwords? Indecision breeds inertia.
I have found the best way to beat inertia is action. Not always bold, dramatic moves, but little steps. Inertia is a force and the harder you push, the more resistance it puts up. But making small, calculated progress seems to pass under inertia’s radar.
Need to sail down the coast to Mexico? Sail to the next port. It is close, and you have not committed yourself to anything major. Then do the next port. Pretty soon you have passed Mexico and you are on your way to South America.
Do you want to become and online entrepreneur? Start with a simple bio and post it on your web page. Then sit back and feel good about that. But don’t leave it for too long. Put up a contact page on your website. And so on.
Make a list and tackle one small task, every day if you can. Pretty soon Inertia won’t even realize what you have achieved.