The Power of Inertia

A foundational principle of physics is also my most helpful decision-making tool

© 1995 Watterson/Dist. by Universal Press Syndicate
  • When thinking about investing in cryptocurrencies I decided to invest sooner, when the cost of low and upside of potential appreciation enormously outweighed the downside of losing my investment, rather than wait to see if the prove legitimate and viable first and lose the ability to accumulate effects.
  • I signed up for Pinterest immediately upon its launch in 2010 and began furiously pinning quotes and images to flesh out my profile and put things into circulation, and am still getting notifications of people pinning them to their boards and following me despite little to no additional effort on my part since then. I’ve seen similar “success” with early adopters of other social platforms who have follower counts that continue to grow much more easily than struggling latecomers. I’ve since signed up for, and engage with, new products or services when they launch rather than waiting for them to succeed first.
  • When I pre-order books or read new books immediately upon release I am more inclined to leave a review, because the chance of it being rated more highly (and therefore seen by more people) is higher than if I leave a review months later at the bottom of an already established collection of authority.
  • I stop reading a book within the first 50–100 pages if it doesn’t prove interesting, enjoyable, or challenging enough. The same goes for blog posts, albums, TV shows. This is because I know that they will be harder to put down the further into them I get, regardless of how loathsome or tedious I may find them. (“Well, I’ve gone this far…”)
  • Consuming lots of green vegetables, drinking more water, reducing junk, and beginning to exercise in my 20’s wasn’t just about setting good habits into motion early which I now find easier to sustain, but the accumulated effects and inertia of bodily health are incalculable. Good health is difficult to appreciate — when nothing’s wrong there nothing to see. But the more time you focus on healthfulness then the more positive effects you will accumulate over time (micronutrition for cells and organs, fiber for gut flora consumption, muscle activity and growth, bone strength through weight-bearing, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, etc.) and the more negative effects you will tend to avoid altogether. (high blood pressure, inflammation, sprains, breaks, etc.) The longer you can behave healthfully the more healthy you will tend to be.
  • Seeing friends quit jobs or take leaves of absence before reentering the work force has made me appreciate how difficult and time-consuming it can be to start back up again, especially compared to those who remained in motion during that time and continued advancing with relative ease. That’s not to say you should never quit jobs, and things like sabbaticals or parental leave are vital and valuable, but I’ve also witnessed how helpful it can be to opt for another kind of motion rather that to stop, break, or pause completely. Starting from rest is hard. This isn’t a new revelation, but one I appreciate more deeply as having to do with the idea of inertia and not simply a “just so” fact of life.

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Mark Mulvey

Arts • Investing • Games • Tech • Philosophy • Bitcoin