Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton

Do you remember learning Sir Isaac Newton’s “laws of motion” in school? I wonder, were you like most of your classmates, questioning whether knowing this stuff would do you any good in the real world?

Today I want to apply Newton’s thinking to something other than physical science. You know me: I always have to look at things differently.

Newton’s 1st Law of Business?

Newton’s first law of motion states that objects tend to remain in the state of motion that they’re in. We use the term inertia to describe this phenomenon. Moving objects want to keep moving. Stationary objects like to stay still,

You can probably already see where I’m going with this.

If you’ve ever been in business, or seriously considered launching a one, you have almost certainly experienced what I’m talking about. Getting started is hard, isn’t it?

Changing your state of motion from stationary to forward motion takes a lot of energy. Not to mention if you have to get others to move with you! No part of the process requires more hard work than the initial phases. Think of the space shuttle. It takes two rocket boosters and a fuel tank bigger than the shuttle itself just for lift off. The rockets and fuel tank are unnecessary after the astronauts are several miles from the ground. I’m only guessing here, but I imagine that 95% of the fuel burned during the entire voyage is consumed in the first few minutes. Defeating inertia is not easy.

Once you’ve got things started and moving along, you’ve put the Newton’s law to work on the other side of the coin. Inertia in motion is also called momentum. Everything happens more quickly and with much less effort. It becomes difficult for any external force to stop you from getting where you’re headed in the same way it’s difficult when you first get started. Like trying to stop a freight train gliding down the track.

These principles work for your business as well.

Let me state my point explicitly. If you’re going to accomplish anything in business (or life in general) you have to overcome your natural state of non-motion. This is the hardest part. As people in the society most of my readers live in, it is a rare occurrence to find truly action-oriented adults. (My contention is that they beat this characteristic out of students around the same time they’re teaching them about Newton’s laws of motion. But that’s another topic entirely.)

Success Is a Choice

Inertia is the reason that success is never accidental. It may, however, be coincidental. For example, if a microbiologist stumbled across the cure for AIDS, you couldn’t call it a total accident. He or she was messing around in the lab, and happened to make a great discovery. It’s more of co-incidence, An unexpected result came from action already being taken. See what I mean?

The Dip

Seth Godin wrote a best-selling book called The Dip. The book (which I haven’t actually read) describes periods of struggle during any venture that really separate the “boys from the men,” as it were. If you push through the dip, you’ll find greater success than ever before. But most people can’t summon the willpower to continue working through such a trying time. According to this law of motion, the biggest dip can be found at the very beginning of any project, check out middle school science online projects. I’m willing to bet that Seth would agree. (If you read this, Mr. Godin, feel free to chime in.)Although creating a roadmap is essential to any endeavor, thinking about doing something doesn’t count as getting started. It’s the easiest thing in the world to get excited about a new idea or vision. Moving past that stage is harder. The emotion has to be translated into motion.

The Happily Mediocre

It wasn’t intentional, but there are no concrete business building lessons in this article, just one overriding concept. Do something! Fear, discomfort, looking crazy, the desire to conform (and the desire of the happily mediocre keep you from shining too brightly) and plenty of other reasons stand opposed to you. You’ll have to really dig in and push forward. Once you get the ball rolling a little, you will not regret the effort. Victory is waiting on you. But you won’t win by accident.

Donnie Bryant

Donnie Bryant

Marketing that works. Copy that converts. Results that matter.

Direct response copywriter, Donnie Bryant, welcomes questions about overcoming marketing inertia. Get in touch with him through email (, by phone at 312-450-9291, or follow him on Twitter: @donniebryant.