Steven Pressfield, author of the inspirational book ‘The War of Art’ (download the free pdf here) tells about how he wrote his first novel. He locked himself away for a year and worked day in and day out – until he finished it. When he told his mentor, he finished the novel, mentor replied: ‘Start your next one tomorrow.’
That’s what I call keeping up the momentum.
The hardest part is getting going, but once you get started there is no stopping you. That’s what Steven’s mentor was hinting upon – start your next one – not next year, not next month or next week, but tomorrow.
It’s the same thing that is happening with me now. With great force and effort, I did get to complete 100 posts by end of 2016. But I lost almost two weeks to get myself back on track to conquer the next objective.
Don’t be a fool like me. Start on your next goal, next initiative now.
Danger of losing Momentum
Tynan from Superhuman by Habit warns about the danger of losing one’s momentum.
“Missing two days of a habit is habit suicide. If missing one day reduces your chances of long-term success by a small amount like five percent, missing two days reduces it by forty percent or so. Three days missed and you may as well be starting over. At that point you have lost your momentum and have made it far too easy to skip in the future.”
Habit suicide. Wow! That was hard.
But haven’t you heard of those who succeeded miraculously in their first endeavor and simply vanished from the pages of History then-after. Beginner’s luck the world would call it. And you could very well be one of them.
John McDonald in his book ‘The Message of a Master’ offers a solution for this:
“When the first objective is reached, what then? Set another one beyond that, immediately.”
Yes, set the next one. Immediately.
- Because you are in danger of losing momentum.
- Because you are one big lazy pauper
- Because it is a simple law of Physics
You see the entire world is conspiring to slow you back into inertia. An object in motion will continue in motion, as per Newton’s First Law of Motion, in space – where there is lack of friction. But on earth, you have more than enough things conspiring you to stop, to rest. Steven Pressfiled has a name for this – ‘Resistance’.
Value your momentum and cling to it.
Do you know that the space shuttle uses more fuel during the first two minutes of its flight than it does the rest of the entire trip.
Why? Because it has to attain escape velocity – literally to escape, break free from the pull of earth’s gravity. Once it does, it can glide in orbit.
The hard part? Getting off the ground.
No wonder, Aristotle says ‘Well begun is half done!’
‘I was simmering. Emerson brought me to boil’ says Walt Whitman talking about the inspiration he took from Ralph Waldo Emerson. He had Emerson, the Father of the Transcendentalism to help him keep the momentum.
Even Whitman needed someone. We just got each other.
“But once you get momentum,” as Darren Hardy writes in his book ‘Compound Effect’, “you will be hard to stop—virtually unbeatable—even though you’re now putting out considerably less effort while receiving greater results.”
The Next Telephone Pole Wisdom
But sometimes it can feeling daunting.
- Another 100+ posts in 2017
- An entire book to write
- Quite an amount of money to earn and save and invest
Ultraendurace athlete and founder of the Spartan Race, Joe De Sena, offers the “next telephone pole” wisdom in his great book Spartan Up!
“The way to get through anything mentally painful is to take it a little at a time. The mind can’t handle dealing with a massive iceberg of pain in front of it, but it can deal with short nuggets that will come to an end. So instead of thinking, Ugh, I’ve got twenty-four miles to go, focus on making it to the next telephone pole in the distance. Whether you’re running twenty or one hundred and twenty miles at a time, the distance has to be tackled mentally and physically one mile at a time. The ability to compartmentalize pain into these small bite sizes is key.”
The Domino Effect
A domino can, by the law of physics, knock over another domino that is 50% bigger than it.
So, if you line up 13 dominoes, you can start with one that’s about the size of your little pinky fingernail and, by the 13th domino, you have a 3 foot tall, 100 pound domino. Continue that for another 13 or so and you’re looking at the Eifel Tower.
Identify the next domino! Your next goal!
Break your big goal down into micro goals and you can knock it over. And when you do, you’ll have the momentum to knock over the next progressively larger domino.
So, if you have gotten off the ground? Achieved your 2016 goals (at least most of it). Good for you!!!
That was the hardest part.
Now keep on flying! 🙂 Start your next project, tomorrow. You got the entire 2017 ahead of you.