Inertia is not a serial killer or a form of cancer, but it is killing a lot of people in our world. Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines inertia: it is “lack of movement or activity especially when movement or activity is wanted or needed; or ‘a feeling of not having the energy or desire that is needed to move, change, etc.” Inertia looks a bit like this picture to the right, if we were to put it into an image form. The proverbial ‘head in the sand’ way of dealing with life. Note the biggest area of exposure that would be vulnerable to a really good kick?!
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.” -William James. (I’m not sure that he’s the only one that has said this but we’ll give him credit today!) When we remain inert, that is exactly what we do — remain. You can never change your job, find your soul mate, explore another part of the world, fall in love, buy a house, increase your income or achieve something big unless you do something!
This makes me think of the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. If we do the same thing, the same results will happen. If we want to see something different, we have to try something else. We have to take a risk. If you just shuddered after hearing the word risk, consider the risks of not changing anything — that TOO is a risk…a risk that you will remain where you are years from now, exactly in the same spot. This might be okay if you are right where you want to be and nothing could possibly be better, but I don’t think I’ve run across anyone like that in all my years of doing counselling!
To risk is to engage with possibility. Think about it. There are so many possibilities in this life but they require our participation. We have to step out and act. “But what if something bad happens, or it doesn’t turn out the way we hope?” If that happens, THEN we deal with it. A helpful paradigm for moving out of inertia and into possibility is called calculated risk. This is taking a risk after considering the various outcomes and possibilities — thinking through the worst case scenarios AND the best case scenarios. If you need help with this, seek wise counsel — see a psychologist (heck, you can even call me!). Taking a calculated risk means considering the possibilities and deciding if the risk is worth the potential outcome. If it is, you move! Forward. You make a choice and get some momentum going. Nothing ever changes if you remain inert; and in the long run, that is a shame and can lead to a pile of regret and missed opportunities. And unfortunately, you did have a choice.