The eternal battle with inertia

Rock © Joop Kleuskens |

Needing to bang out a fluff piece — something I can do in my sleep so I can move on to something more important — I find myself procrastinating and doing anything except banging out the fluff piece.

And maybe the fact that I can do it in my sleep is the trouble. I want to be challenged. But on the other hand, when I do challenge myself, I resist because it’s hard. Can’t do it because it’s too darn easy, can’t do it because it’s too darn hard.

Maybe it’s just human nature to resist doing anything, whatever it is that needs to be done in a given moment. In that case I’m ready to do battle to defeat my human nature. I want to be a superhero who can wrestle Resistance to the ground and give it a few unnecessary slugs to the belly while I’ve got it down.

Inertia is a nasty and powerful force, because it’s so much easier to do nothing than to grab the bull by the horns. (And think about that metaphor for a second: Why would any rational human want to grab a bull by the horns? Do you realize how suicidal a thing that could be? Better to stay nice and settled in the easy chair and watch life go by — Grab a bull by the horns? What, are you crazy?)

If you just plow ahead and do something you’re not in the mood for, it’s that much quicker that you’re done and now you CAN do what you want to do.

But then — Oh, bother. Now doing all that necessary work has tired you out, and you’re not in the mood for fun. Look at me. I’m writing a yarn set on Venus with intrigue and danger and missions and quests and strange and unusual creatures, and yet I’ve hemmed and hawed around the planet for so — well, never mind how long I’ve straggled over something I really want to do. 

Is it just human nature to sit and vegetate when we could be doing something that’s fun but takes a modicum of effort? Of course it must be. We even have that word for it: inertia, the tendency of a thing at rest to remain at rest. To move the thing takes energy; the more energy you apply, the faster the thing gets moved.

OK, so now the adversary is known, and the solution is known: Build up enough energy to get moving. So: Overcoming inertia in 3 – 2 – 1 – 3/4 – 1/2 – 1/3 …

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of It's Going to Be All Right, Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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