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Donnie Bryant: A 7th Grade Science Lesson Most Business Schools Never Teach

aDo you remember learning Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion in school? Were you like most of your classmates, questioning whether knowing this stuff would do you any good after the test was over?

Today I want to explore a real world application of Newton’s thinking, but with a twist. We’re leaving the realms of science to talk about…

Newton’s 1st Law of Business?

Newton’s first law of motion states that objects tend to maintain their current state of motion. We use the term inertia to describe this phenomenon. Moving objects want to keep moving. Stationary objects prefer to stay still.

Getting started is hard.

If you’ve ever been in business, or seriously considered launching a one, you have almost certainly experienced what I’m talking about.

Changing your state of motion from stationary to forward motion takes a lot of energy (especially if you have to get others to move with you). No part of the process requires more focus and hard work than the initial phases. Think of the Space Shuttle. It takes two rocket boosters and a fuel tank bigger than the shuttle itself just for lift off. The rockets and fuel tank are unnecessary after the astronauts are several miles from the ground. I’m only guessing here, but I imagine that 95% of the fuel burned during the entire voyage is consumed in the first few minutes. Defeating inertia is not easy.

Once things get started and moving along, the flipside of Newton’s law starts to work. Inertia in motion is also called momentum. Everything happens more quickly and with much less effort. It becomes difficult for any external force to stop you from getting where you’re going. Like trying to stop a freight train thundering down the track.

These principles work for your business as well.

If you’re going to accomplish anything in business (or life in general), you have to overcome your natural state of non-motion. This is the hardest part. In today’s microwave society, it is a rare occurrence to find truly action-oriented adults. (Most schools beat this characteristic out of students around the same time they’re teaching them about Newton’s laws. But that’s another topic entirely.)

Success Is a Choice

Inertia is the reason that success is never accidental. It may, however, be coincidental. For example, if a microbiologist stumbled across the cure for AIDS, you couldn’t call it an accident. He was experimenting in the lab and happened to make a great discovery.

It’s more of co-incidence; he was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. An unexpected result came from action already being taken.

The Dip

Seth Godin wrote a best-selling book called The Dip. The book describes periods of struggle during any venture that really separate the “boys from the men,” as it were.

If you push through the dip, you’ll find greater success than ever before. But most people can’t summon the willpower to continue working through such a difficult time.

According to Newton, the biggest dip can be found at the very beginning of any project. I’m willing to bet that Seth would agree.

Although creating a road map is essential to any endeavor, thinking about doing something doesn’t count as getting started. It’s the easiest thing in the world to get excited about a new idea or vision. Moving past that stage is harder. The emotion has to be translated into motion.

The Point

Here’s the main point of Newton’s Law of Business: Do something! Fear, discomfort, the desire to conform and plenty of other forces stand opposed to you. You have to really dig in and push forward. Once you get the ball rolling a little, you will not regret the effort. Victory is waiting on you. But you won’t win by accident.

3 Responses to Donnie Bryant: A 7th Grade Science Lesson Most Business Schools Never Teach

  1. Derrick Barber Reply

    November 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Strongly agree with this article. I feel like understanding the power of positive and negative momentum is a mindset thing every new/up & coming entrepreneur needs to wrap their mind around. I’ve suffered through negative momentum swings before, that I didn’t even think had anything to with me. Not to say that struggling (or even failing) as a business owner is COMPLETELY in your control, but if I had understood momentum sooner… I believe it would have resulted in achieving success a little bit quicker. What a great article. I hope to interview some day on the subject, if you’re open to that idea.

  2. Donnie Bryant Reply

    November 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Momentum, in its many forms, is a very powerful force. But you’ve got to get it to work for your success instead of against it. That takes thought and effort. It also pays off in spades.

    Thanks for the comment, Derrick! I’d certainly be willing to chat with you about this subject. Let’s get in touch.

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