Sunday 18 January 2015

The Momentum Principle

"Momentum:  the principle that the linear momentum of a system has constant magnitude and direction if the system is subjected to no external force."  (Law of Physics)

A body in motion tends to stay in motion.  Look at a runner running full tilt.  It is hard for them to stop on a dime.  They tend to keep running for a few yards.  As Brian Tracy says, "Although it may take tremendous energy to overcome inertia, and get started initially, it then takes far less energy to keep going."  Tracy says that the faster you move, the more energy you have.  If you want to achieve your life's goals, become an action-oriented person.

The momentum principle reminds me of the two-horse rule.  Take a horse that weighs 700 pounds.  It can pull 700 pounds.  Take another horse that weighs 800 pounds.  It pulls 800 pounds.  Put the two horses together and how much can they pull?  Simple mathematics says they can pull 1500 pounds.  However, in reality, the two horses can pull 3000 pounds!  You add the weight of the two horses plus their interactive weight, thereby quadrupling their individual power.

There is a mental component to the principle.  Think about humans, for instance.  If your task is to clean the kitchen cupboards and you have to do it on your own.  It's a boring, meticulous task which you are dreading.  It will probably take all morning.  However, your sister joins you to help.  You are making progress much faster than you thought.  You see results.  And you have her company to make the time pass faster.  Within an hour, the task is complete.

The momentum principle can also be applied to your mortgage.  When Rob and I first bought our house, it seemed like it would take us forever to pay it off.  Month by month, we only chipped a tiny amount off the principle.  However, after a few years, we noticed the principle decreasing more rapidly, like a snowball effect.  We made a few extra payments.  The final few years, the principle seemed to disappear.  Sixteen years after our purchase (on a 25 year mortgage) we owned the house free and clear.

The same principle can be applied to my blog.  My original intent was to write a weekly blog.  However, once I started, I thought I would build momentum more quickly if I wrote everyday.  I had seen too many blogs start with a weekly post only to have the blog fizzle out within a year.  Here I am four and a half years later, feeling like I still have more to say.

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