An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Most of us learned about Newton's First Law of Motion back in school. Your physics teacher likely pulled out those clacking metal balls to show you an example of Newton’s Law at work. If you’re anything like me, however, you quickly forgot all about it once that final was over.
Well, Sir Newton popped back into my mind a few weeks ago, but this time we weren't discussing physics (and I’m a long way from that high school classroom), we were discussing emotions. A friend was telling me how she just couldn't get out of this funk she was in, and she didn't know what to do. “Same crap day after day. Now I just expect it,” she told me.
I was a little shocked. She’s one of my friends who seems like she has it all together. But then I remembered how easy it is to get to that place. That place where negativity lives is easy to check-in, but checking out isn't an easy task.
It’s really amazing how our own thoughts can get in our way. Negative thoughts breed more negative thoughts, and then more and more. We start dwelling on the all the seemingly negative things in life, and then we can’t find the way out. The negativity turns us cold and bitter, and who ever said they wanted to grow up to be cold and bitter?
We all get there at some point – we feel like we just can’t catch a break, we feel stuck, we can’t see our path taking a different direction any time soon. So how do we catch that break or get unstuck? How can we change our direction?
Just like Sir Newton taught us, we have to create our own unbalanced force.
So how do we create an unbalanced force? That sounds really hard, right?
When you first create your unbalanced force, it’s usually by accident. You find something that lifts you up, something that changes your mind or allows you to see a situation in a different light. But once you've found it, it’s up to you to use it.
My mom is my unbalanced force (and yes, I know how terrible that sounds.) When I’m feeling stuck, she helps me find a different direction. She also reminds me that I’m the prettiest, smartest girl she knows, so the confidence boost helps. She is sure to commiserate with me for a bit before she logically and methodically walks me through the way out of whatever has me stuck.
I also have a word that works as an unbalanced force – transform. It reminds me to change direction. I’m making a conscious effort to look at things that make me feel stuck to see how I can change the way I do them – how I can transform them. I was given a coffee mug with TRANSFORM etched into it; I don’t know if it’s the cup that has helped or the delicious coffee in the cup, but I am able to more easily make changes when it’s in hand.
If you ever feel like you can’t change direction, or you’re just plain stuck, find your unbalanced force. Find a word that is a reminder or friend who props you up and helps you find a different way. You just might not want to tell them that they’re your unbalanced force.
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