Without goals, would we just stand still and quack quietly?
David Wallace Fleming is writer of self-termed, technical satire and author of many digital books including Not From Concentrate, Modern Manhood, and the social media novel Growing Up Wired.
Posted on March 13, 2013
Why do people stop themselves once they’ve got something started? Why do people stop short of achieving a goal, again and again?
Sure, part of the problem is the fear of the unknown but the other problem is a lack of setting goals. If a person isn’t moving toward a goal, then they’re just moving out into the unknown abyss of space. That’s scary stuff.
Another cool thing about momentum is that it seems to be fairly scalar. If one keeps doing the same thing everyday, there’s no telling where one will end up.
A lot of times when people casually talk about momentum I think what they might really be referring to is inertia or the tendency of things to stay in a given state of motion. If you ask people why things tend to stay in a given state of motion no one can really give you a straight answer. It’s one of those mysteries that we’re not really supposed to think about or ask questions about. What is inertia? What is mass? Why does mass have the properties that it has and why do those properties behave the way that they behave?
If a duck wakes up every morning and says, “quack,” then we might say that that duck had a certain inertia to keep waking up in the morning and saying “quack,” even if prior quacks weren’t all they were quacked up to be. We might say that said duck had a certain quack-inertia to its character.
Now, IF a second duck awoke each morning and quacked just a little bit louder than our first duck, then this second duck might also have a distinct and slightly greater quack-inertia. Now what’s gonna happen when these two ducks meet? The second duck is going to out-quack the first! This second duck is going to have a greater quack-momentum. This second duck will be a victorious duck and will be invited to all the best duck-parties.
Inertia is a scalar quantity of a system that describes that systems stubbornness. Momentum, on the other quack, is best for describing who or what will win when two systems come into conflict.
So, maybe this is the second secret to the audacity of momentum: not only do we have to set goals, but we have to become more competitive to prepare for eventual conflicts with our competitors.