Finding balance in a chaotic world

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Newton’s First Law

MotionWhen I took Physics in high school we spent some time discussing Newton’s laws. They are basic principles of how things interact in the world and help us predict future outcomes. Newton’s first law is that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. It is one of those “Duh” laws. After all, you do not expect a rock sitting on a hill to suddenly leap up nor do you expect a ball rolling into the street to suddenly stop for no reason. What does this have to do with balance? Well what applied to rocks and balls, applies to people too.

 

You ever notice when you are really on the ball and in the middle of some activity that doing a little bit more is simple. Let’s say you decide that it is time to clean up the living room. So you start putting things away and get on a roll. Before you have even finished picking things up and organizing them, you also notice that the entertainment center could use a dusting. So you grab the rag and polish and give it a quick cleaning. You then decide to organize your DVD collection and put them all back in the slots where they belong. Soon you sit down and take a break. You look around the living room and feel a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. Contrast that to sitting on the couch watching TV. You notice the entertainment center is dusty and the DVDs really need to be put away, not stacked on top of the TV. You really need to get on that, maybe tomorrow.

 

Why the difference? Truthfully, dusting the entertainment center is probably a five to ten minute job at the most. But sitting there on the couch makes the job seem much larger. An object at rest (you) tends to stay at rest. Basically what we are talking about is momentum. Once you get moving, additional tasks are seen as not being that much more work than what you are doing now. It is all a case of perception.

 

One of the things that Amy appreciates is if I’ll do the dishes after dinner. Since she works hard with the kids and making the dinner, I am happy… well not happy but I certainly don’t mind doing the dishes. It is not a difficult task and it helps show my love for her. Sometimes though, more dirty dishes arrive after I’ve finished washing them. Maybe we had some popcorn while watching a movie or something. I know that Amy does not like having dirty dishes in the sink overnight so I bring out the dish soap and wash them again, but I’m definitely not as enthusiastic about it. At least until I realized that to wash four or five dishes like that takes me ten minutes tops. When I discovered that fact it changed how I felt about doing those “extra” dishes. I mean really, ten minutes is nothing, especially if it makes my wife happy.

 

But I had to overcome that almost gravitic pull of being at rest at the end of the day. We probably had just finished watching a movie on TV and I wanted to go upstairs to bed. I was an object at rest. I needed to get in motion. Once in motion the task is simple and over quickly. What was a huge hill to climb turns out to be nothing but a minor incline. The trick is to overcome being at rest.

 

So the next time you are sitting on the couch watching TV and notice some minor housekeeping task that needs to be done, get up and do it. Fight the gravitational pull of the couch and just do it. You will find that being in motion leads to accomplishing tasks.