An Object at Rest Stays at Rest


An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.

In very rough terms, that is Newton’s First Law of Motion.

Do you know what inertia is?  Most think it means something like not moving, or maybe not alive.

But it is a bit more complex.  It means that whatever an object is doing- whatever speed or direction, then it will keep on keepin on. Forever.  Same speed, same direction.

A ball thrown into space will move at the same speed and in the same direction forever unless something else affects it.  A bowling ball would move down a bowling lane for eternity if not for friction.

It’s easy to apply Newton’s First Law of Motion at work.  But probably better to apply it to ourselves first.  A look into the mirror to ask ourselves how fast we are moving on important things.  How fast are we moving, and are we moving to important? So that answers speed and direction right off the bat.  Or starts to.

If you want your CPA, are you studying, and registering for the four tests?

If you want to work in another department, are you mapping a plan to make that happen?

If you want another career or job, are you taking the steps to be an appealing and successful candidate.

Newton’s Third Law of Motion is that for every action, there is a corresponding reaction.  By the way, always with the force equal to the action.  Validates that concept that you get out of something what you put into it!

Motion has its best impact when it is pointed in the right direction. At the risk of being snarky about corporate cultures, the concepts of plans and actions often made me laugh.  The longer the process to write plans, the less often the actions happened.  The more of a science project the planning became, the less likely the tactics really got deployed.  There was motion, but not in the right direction.  Once the document got to several pages, and it was maybe being shared online with various work groups, hierarchical manifestations kicked in. Folks start gerrymandering issues and gum up the works.  Perhaps some innocents are shot as collateral damage.  But I digress.

Back to that classic connotation of inertia.  The concept of just sitting there, idle.  My mental image is Jabba the Hut- a big round mass doing nothing.

Don’t be Jabba the Hut.

You have to figure out what direction you want to go, and get going.

Whether you work in a classic office environment or telecommute, or volunteer, or you are a student, you are part of a unit accomplishing a task.  Shared goal stuff.  It is likely a great direction to consider.  Having your goals aligned with others at work sure makes it more fun. If you find yourself in a job where you don’t want your employer to be successful, you’re no gem.

On  more positive note, ask yourself, who is the most motivating person at work?

Is it you?

Could it be you?

Should it be you?

Do you think it should always be the boss? The person in charge?

If it turns out you are the most motivating, then you are a leader.

Leaders motivate others.  Leaders get more out of their colleagues.

By asking more of others, you do them a great service.

Good coaches aren’t content; they want their teams to improve.  Their tense is the present, their mood is the imperative.

Great bosses will be great because they check all the boxes, but one of the boxes is that they push for more and better performance.  From everyone.

Still, you don’t have to be one’s boss to lead them.

You will lead if you are someone who can be relied upon to move in the right direction at a good speed.  Do that, and you have a great shot of BEING the most motivating person your circle knows.

I don’t know, maybe it is weird to apply basic physics concepts to the work environment, but given that these ARE accepted laws of physics, laws to which our entire existence adheres, it seems to me they can act as lodestones.  Give us a true North.

Before I close, and quite off topic, Robert Spitzer is a physicist who gives awesome talks on the beginning of the universe and basic principles of physics in an easy to understand manner.  I bought one of his books but that was grueling to follow- better to hear him!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *