Tag Archives: inertia



How does one move beyond inertia? Is it strength of will, finding the motivation, or is there more to it? For the past two years I have felt as though a huge unidentified barrier exists when I think I’m ready to move forward. For all the plans I’ve made and all the things I think I want to change, I cannot find the internal strength to risk anything! I don’t consciously say "no, I can’t go there, do that, or whatever the case may be. I physically begin to feel nauseated and anxious and immobilized.


What seems like inertia is actually a dynamic interplay of opposing forces within one’s psyche. Motion is constant in the universe. Everything is always in continuous movement. The force of evolution compels life forward at all times. When we feel stuck or inert, what is happening is that part of us is trying to move forward and another part, usually fear, is pulling us back, with the net result being stagnation. The fear could be fear of change, fear of failure, fear of success, or almost any kind of fear of the future. Your symptoms of anxiety and nausea clearly indicate an underlying tension.

You need to understand the nature of this fear and then do the internal work to release it. Once the fear is identified and diffused, the natural flow of life will carry forward, you don’t need to find any additional source of strength. Trying to overcome this inertia with will power when there is unresolved emotional tension underneath will not work because the fear will also amass more power, and the standstill will remain.  By clearing the fear, you will begin to take some steps forward and gain momentum again. It is not necessary to be completely free from the fear before you begin to act. The advice of  “feel the fear and do it anyway”, applies to this stage, where your primary allegiance and strength has shifted to your conscious desires. Taking action not only gives you forward motion, but it helps you overcome the remaining fear.




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Feeling Stuck? Put It on the Back Burner

Archimedes figured out how to determine how much gold there was in a crown while lying in the bath tub. While dozing by the fire, Friedrich August Kekule had a dream of snakes that allowed him to understand the structure of benzene. For both of these scientists, the answer came when they stopped “thinking” about the question and did something else. They put their problem on the back burner and suddenly the answer popped into their minds.

Has something like this ever happen to you? You aren’t sure about something. Rather than thinking about it over and over, you get up and take a shower. Or go for a run. Or listen to music. Or watch TV. Suddenly the solution pops into your head—that day or the next, or maybe a week later.

Brain scientists now know why this happens. It’s because when we focus on something, there is a part of our brain that is trying to help us concentrate by cutting off access to the rest of our brain. When we “give up,” that part turns off and we are in touch with all of our resources. Isn’t that ironic? By trying to help us, it actually hinders!

The problem is that, because we’ve never been issued the driver’s manual to our minds, most of us believe that we need to focus even more. And that can actually prevent us from finding a solution. According to Robert Cooper and Ayman Sawaf in Executive EQ, for instance, working too long at mental tasks can cause your problem solving time to increase by up to 500 percent. In other words, the more we try to stay focused on a task, the worse we get at doing it.

Next time you’re stuck or want to think creatively about something, don’t try to work on it. Go for a walk, play golf, draw, talk to a friend about something else. Notice if a solution comes.



Why Do We Get Stuck in a Rut?

Have you ever said, "I’m stuck in a rut lately" or "I’m getting tired of the same old routine" or "Isn’t there more to life than what I’ve been doing?"

What causes that uncomfortable feeling of being stuck? Creating a routine or schedule doesn’t seem to be the problem because nature prefers routine. The sun rises and sets. The moon rises and falls. Spring is followed by summer, fall, winter, and spring again. The earth travels all the way around the sun and then embarks on yet another journey around the sun, as the moon continues to travel around the earth. So having a regular schedule or routine is fully in alignment with the natural cyclical energy that flows through us and around us all the time. Having a routine doesn’t naturally produce discomfort.

So when we feel stuck, the problem is either the routine we created or our perception of the routine. In other words, feeling stuck could be the result of creating a routine that now seems unnatural to us – inconsistent with our core values, beliefs, and personal mission statement about why we’re on this planet. We might feel as if we’re in the wrong job, the wrong relationship, or the wrong community.

But it could also be the result of failing to fully appreciate the routine (and the life!) that we have now. Chad Brock sang “Ordinary Life,” in which a man leaves his wife because he’s sick of the same routine every day. It’s the exact same routine for which his wife is thankful every day, and the same routine that eventually draws him back home again. (Click here to access the video “Ordinary Life.”) When we open our eyes and deepen our awareness, we can experience awe in day-to-day simplicity:

  • “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” – Buddha
  • “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” – Henry Miller
  • “Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Before giving into any unhealthy, short-term tactics for breaking out of a rut (e.g., buying a pricy new sports car, having an affair, or booking an expensive overseas vacation that you can’t really afford), consider whether healthy, long-term changes to your routine might be useful to bring it more in alignment with your personal truth, or whether you are losing your awareness of the personal truth that you are already living every day!


PHOTO: Flickr / villamon

“Yum Or Yuck” Your Way Out Of A Rut

In order to get ourselves out of these ruts, we need to become more aware of the choices we make ‘in the moment’- and ask ourselves how these choices make us feel.  We all get stuck in ruts from time to time, repeating the same boring choices over and over again, daily.  What makes us all different from one another are the choices we make as individuals. 

All of our choices are based on our past actions, these actions generate a memory of the experience.  It’s the memory of the repeated experience that fuel our desires, that prompt us to make the same predictable choices again.  And then it continues over and over again, forming the same safe choice patterns.  It directs, limits, and reenforces all of our choices, based on our past decisions. 

Although the past determines the circumstance of the present, the present moment is more a function of our state of awareness; so the more aware we can be ‘in the moment’ , the more creative our choices can be- breaking us out of our ruts!

One of the best ways to become more aware of our choices is through meditation.  Meditation helps you become more aware ‘in the moment’- giving you the ability to take a step back and see your choice patterns, break your predictable choice patterns, so you’re able to form new healthy creative actions.

Once you become aware that you’re about to make a choice, ask yourself, "is this choice good for me?  is this choice good for the people close to me?"  Then ask yourself, "how will this choice make me feel?" (Yum or Yuck?)  If you feel discomfort- don’t make the choice. If you feel comfort- make that new choice!




This Week On Intent: Avoiding Life Ruts Or Getting Out of One

We’ve all been in a rut before. And usually, it is not a very fun feeling.

This week’s theme is ruts: avoiding them, coping with them, getting over them. Whether it’s a career rut, creative rut, relationship rut, social rut, exercise rut or an all-encompassing life rut–what’s the best way to deal? What are some inspiring strategies to dig yourself out of your mental inertia and start getting back into a good life momentum that makes you feel productive, happy and excited to find out what happens next? 

In some ways, a rut is a blessing in disguise. Once you recognize you are in one and you want to get out of it, this can be the best opportunity for an exciting new transition. Being stuck in a career rut may inspire you to go back to school and try a completely new career path you’ve always secretly dreamed about. Being stuck in a relationship rut may goad you and your romantic partner to make more exciting travel plans and do new activities together.

Sometimes being stuck means we are pushed to do unfamiliar and new things out of our comfort z
one in order to grow out of our life inertia. Here are some quick, rut-busting tips that just might be the shake-up you need to start feeling inspired again! 

– Talk to a friend–on the phone or in person–you haven’t talked to in a while. Sometimes you need a pep talk from a good friend to remind you just how awesome you are.

– Schedule a mini-adventure to do something new. Exploring new places and experiencing new things–even if it’s just a new coffee house in your neighborhood–is a great way to break out of your usual rhythm and possibly inspire some new ideas to get your own life flow going.

– Get rid of the clutter in your living space. A cleaner space  will help you think with more clarity what you need to do next.

– Take up an activity that normally scares you or makes you nervous. Doing things out of our comfort zones is one of the best ways to feel like you are on the top of the world! 

Are you experiencing a rut right now? Or have you just gotten out of one? What tips and advice do you have for getting out of a rut? What keeps you feeling inspired, productive and rut-free?

Join Intent’s mission this week to inspire others with ideas that will help us avoid ruts or get out of them. We will be featuring the best weekly content at the end of the week. If you simply want to share a quick idea in the comments below, we want to hear that as well. We can’t wait to read your contributions!

** Want more inspiration to get out of a life rut? How about getting out of stress? This week on Intent, we are doing a free give-away of Intent Voice Debbie Mandel’s book Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. For a chance to win the book, sync your Intent and Twitter account, and post an Intent on how you plan on getting out of a life rut or keeping your life rut-free!

3 random winners will be selected by the end of the week to receive a free copy of the book. Winners must be living in the U.S. ** 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / pensiero


7 Ways to Deal with Inertia-Based Procrastination

People commonly use seven phrases as an excuse to procrastinate. Each one of these sentences indicates the inertia trap – we can’t be bothered to start the ball rolling. We’d rather avoid the hard work and just stick with whatever we do have rolling even if it’s a ball we despise.

Here are ways to counter each negative attitude and to turn inertia into action.

1.    I can’t be bothered: Don’t think about the task itself. Picture the benefits of completing the task. For example, I used to feel really lazy about washing the dishes each day but the desire to have a clean kitchen pushed me out of that attitude.

2.    Why should I? This is your inner teenager rebelling against "the man." Focus on the end-goal. Why do you want to do this task? Show your inner teenager that it’s not a random, meaningless task imposed on your poor downtrodden soul. It’s actually a good thing that benefits even your inner teenager.

3.    This other thing is so interesting: This is your mind trying to be slippery and sneaky. One way to avoid this form of inertia is to promise yourself that you’ll do the more interesting thing later if you work on the current task for a set amount of time.

4.    I’ve never done it before: New things are scary. We’re much happier doing familiar stuff we find comfortable. I’ll address fear next post, but in the meantime, you can get over this type of procrastination by getting a pep talk. Find a cheerleader who gets you enthusiastic about the new adventure you’re about to embark on.

5.    I don’t like change: This one is very closely related to ‘I’ve never done it before’. It’s a fear-based excuse. Stretching comfort zones makes most people feel uncomfortable because it forces us out of a state of complacency. Smash this resistance flat with one simple question: How has your current state been working out for you?

6.    I’ve always done it this way: Now procrastination is just getting desperate, sounding like an oldie talking about the good old days and how he or she had to walk ten miles through the snow to get to school – uphill both ways! Just laugh at this thought and move on.

7.    It looks like a lot of work: I’ve saved the most difficult one for last. Yes, change often requires a lot of work. Successful people work hard, and habits don’t break themselves. However, once you get going and follow through on the task on a regular basis, it will become easier and you’ll actually start to miss it if you don’t do it. I used to hate doing the dishes because it seemed like so much work each day, and yet now that I’m used to doing them daily, when I don’t wash them, I feel cheated of my mini-meditation break

For the next week, pay attention to the words you use and your procrastination habits. If you notice that you regularly say any of the phrases above (or variations thereof), you’re letting inertia stop you from moving forward.

In the process, if you discover other phrases that you use to keep yourself from starting projects, send them my way. I’d love to know what they are.

Success and Decision Making Biases: Inertia


Decision making Bias :-
Inertia : is a very well known bias in decision making process which is notorious to escape your notice of its own very existence in and as integral part of your nature.
By definition it is using same old thought process to deal with new altogether different circumstances.
We very often lose courage after second or third defeat. On fourth defeat we almost believe that life has made us inadequate in that particular sphere .If similar repetition of failure tails us in other aspects and circumstances of life, we kind of start registering ourselves as inefficient persons and start every new with same subconscious impression. It becomes self-fulfilling cycle of inefficient, moderate or below average picture of ours and consequent lack of enthusiasm sending every undertaking to similar destiny. We do not change our attitude and almost fail to perceive the opportunity ,every new situation provides us to regenerate a new self in our own eyes .
We could be a bit inefficient manager of yesterday but not necessary same would be true about us being an actor or director or a coordinator in different streamline.
The whole idea of this exercise is that negative conditioning needs to be replaced by realistic approach in wake of new circumstances.
Same is true other way round….after 10 successes as a manager , we might not succeed to bring round our own child as now it needs different skills. It is again same inertia misleading us that same skills, similar success we would achieve here as we get in office completely ignoring the dynamics and sensitivities of both places and respective relationships.
 When we are realistically conscious of what it actually takes to solve  and and have courage to stick diligently to it…without getting misled by past experiences positive or negative whatsoever, we always have more and consistent chances to succeed.
Another example of Inertia is using same tool to solve every kind of problem every-time. A short-tempered  using anger to solve every situation is one example of that. Can it offer every solution. Nope.

The Heart of Procrastination

We live in a culture that rewards people for getting more and more done. As companies downsize two jobs merge into one. Children have more scheduled activities, and entrepreneurs experience a constant pressure to be working.

I wonder if this focus on productivity has anything to do with the Puritans who founded North America. They felt that idle hands were the devil’s playthings, so if we’re not working we’re going straight to hell.

We therefore push ourselves and pile on the (self) expectations. And what happens when pile on too much stuff? We collapse into a puddle of guilt. We then try again, by resetting our SMART goals, creating a new schedule with deliverables and dates… then do nothing.

Why? We (yes I include myself in this) have all read the productivity books, the organizing websites, and the time management tools. Yet we never seem to get enough done.

Let’s take a look at our expectations. When I map out everything I expect myself to do, I end up with a 16 hour day. That’s just not going to happen—8 hours is about my limit. Periodically I take a look at my expectations and cut some things out or delay others. Without constant attention, however, goals creep back in and suddenly I’m freaking out about all the things I *need* to get done and end up spending three days in a row watching the entire season of a TV show feeling like a complete and utter loser.

Fortunately I’ve figured this out and now know the stress triggers that tell me to take a look at my expectations, before I reach the meltdown stage. I’ve learned why I procrastinate and use those reasons to decide what I will cut out of my to do list and clear away my procrastination habit.

To me, there are three reasons why we procrastinate:

  • Disinterest: we don’t actually want to do what we’ve told ourselves to do
  • Inertia: a habit of inaction keeps us from starting.
  • Fear: of failure, of success, of displeasing the right people or pleasing the wrong

Let’s take a look at each one of these reasons and see how we can use them to figure out exactly where to set our self expectations.

This is the simplest one. If you take a look at a task you’ve set yourself and you think "m’eh" or "bleah!" then why are you doing it? What would happen if you just crossed it off your list? Would the world collapse? Highly unlikely. And if it is something that you decide must get done, are you the best person to do it? Can you get someone else to do it?

Newton’s First Law of Motion says that an object at rest wants to stay at rest. This is the same for actions and habits. The first time we do something new, it costs us a lot more energy and effort than the tenth time we do it.

I believe that there are two types of fear. One is our intuition telling us this is the wrong path and get off before we run into an oncoming car. The other is our deepest desires whispering in our hearts causing that thrill of fear we get at the top of a roller coaster.

How do we tell the difference? Well, the first is a gut-wrenching ugh while the second is a heart-fluttering whee! If it’s the first, then drop whatever you’re doing as soon as possible. If it’s the second pursue it with all your might.

Now, take a look at your schedule. Write down everything you want to do. Mark all the things you aren’t getting done with a D (for disinterest), I (for inertia) or F (for fear). Then get rid of what you can, lowering your expectations to a point where your to do list is actually doable.

Over the next few articles, I will discuss disinterest, inertia and fear in more detail, so don’t worry if you found this particular exercise difficult. It’ll get easier as you discover more about each topic.