Inertia

If you have any kind of introverted tendency (I am sure we all do sometimes), then hopefully you’ve experienced something like the following.

I’ll give you an example of the thing that often comes up in my own life.

I’m sitting at home, really enjoying sitting at home.

I could be doing something relatively simple, like reading, or writing a draft for this blog.

Then I realize, oh, there's this thing we have to go and do as a family.

Likely it's a social thing, and it might even be with a group of friends that I genuinely love and consider to be like family.

But in that moment, I really, really, don't want to go.

This post isn't about introversion and extroversion.

It's about inertia.

First, a definition: in·er·tia (from physics)


A property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force. (Source)

So much to break down here.

I could choose to start with the first four words, a property of matter. Inertia is a part of us.

For the sake of this post though, I am going to focus on the last nine words, unless that state is changed by an external force.


So, back to my predicament.

There's this thing that we've committed to doing, this awesome thing, and in the moment, I really don't want to go.

I want to continue in my existing state of rest.

Desperately.

So, what (if anything) will cause me to change?

An external force, apparently.

Here is the key question I'd like to explore:

Is it easier to change if this mysterious external force is a pull or a push?

Odds are, if you've experienced this situation before, you eventually got up off the couch, went to do the awesome thing, and had an amazing time.

For the sake of this post though, I'm not interested in what's happened to you (and me) in the past.

I'm curious about what to do when this situation comes up for you (and me) in the future.

I'm drafting this post on a Friday morning, I can almost guarantee this situation is going to come up for me in the next 72 hours.

So, pull or push? What will feel easier?

The more I've explored this question in my own life, the more I've leaned toward one answer.

Pull.

When this situation comes up, I often imagine the awesome thing we're supposed to go to in its entirety, in all its details, and it's overwhelming.

The technique I've found helpful (please recall, I tend toward introversion) is to zoom very deeply into one particular thing that I am looking forward to enjoying.

Again, let's go back to the example of us having to spend time with people we love.

Often in these situations, I find myself in deep conversation with someone I love about ... almost anything really. Usually a trivial thing that we've taken several layers deeper than anyone needs to.

I enjoy these moments immensely, and so what I've tried doing recently when I've found myself desperate to continue in my state of rest, is I've imagined having a deeply enjoyable conversation with one specific person at this awesome thing we're going to. Maybe I even imagine what the conversation is about. Perhaps I think of a question that I really want to get that person's opinion on. The more specific the imagined future, the stronger the pull.

You know you're getting off the couch either way.

You may as well find a way to make it easier to do.

I hope this helps.

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