WORD FOR THE WEEK – INERTIA
Inertia is defined as a lack of activity, and is synonymous with the act of indolence. It is a tendency to do nothing, or to remain unchanged.
There is a saying that “comfort is the enemy of success”. I heard this years ago, pondered on it and wondered in awe at the depth of irony found in that statement.
Years later, looking at my life and that of some people around me I realize the level of truism of those words. As kids, we hunger, we wish, we dream, we see a world of endless potentials. We decide we are going to grow to become a doctor, not just any doctor, but the best doctor the world has ever seen. We dream of being the youngest qualified doctor ever and can visualize our peers gawking at us with envy.
We daydream of being called to rush down to the hospital in our fanciful state of the art car, with a chauffeur at the wheels and an orderly running to open the doors as we hurry to the emergency ward to show our expertise and save a life in a way no one else can.
We simulate our genuflection of adulations from the grateful loved ones of the patient we just saved as we tell them ” it’s all God”, “we only care, only God cures” and other banalities.
As we get older, we begin to trade our “tough” dreams for easier ones, after hearing of how competitive admission into higher institutions for our course of choice is, we begin to settle for easier options. We hear of faster ways to make a quick buck here and there and we begin to forget our books and the dreams they fuelled.
We get a job that was meant to be temporary, start earning more than we thought we could at this stage and our doctoring desires get shelved. Food is steady, money in the pocket, swag on point, inertia begins to set in.
Maybe yours is different, you knew where you were going. You raised a couple of thousands or millions and you started your business. You had your goal and a map with all the “Key Performance Indicators” clearly marked out to keep you on track.
Five years, ten years, this and these were what you would have done. That place was where you would have been.
Fast forward to some months or years later, business is good and you get comfortable; inertia begins to set in.
Bear in mind, you could even be doing better than you had planned, you are earning more than you thought you would, all your KPIs are ticked as done, but there is still room for improvement.
The more comfortable we get in life, the less we challenge ourselves. After all, we have achieved all we set out to, we have done more than our parents dreamed we could, we are outperforming our peers, why shouldn’t we get comfortable?
Simple answer, unlike Alexander The Great who wept when he looked at the domain of his kingdom because there was nowhere else to conquer, thanks to globalization and technology, there is always a world to conquer for us.
What puts inertia in perspective for me? When I got exposed to the Internet, I saw both Nairaland and Facebook. A lot of us witnessed their starting point and some people could tell of the potentials they possessed. Years later, we can measure the progress both sites have made and we know who has been working and who hasn’t.
In even the look of the user interface, Facebook has had repeated makeovers in a quest to ensure a pleasurable user experience, going as far as developing a mobile site, then an application and even a lite app, the same can’t be said about Nairaland. Inertia.
Get the average Nigerian more money than he can spend in his lifetime and he is likely to never lift a finger to work. Inertia.
The average “fine girl” you find on your streets marries a man with more money than she ever dreamed of seeing in two lifetimes, Inertia sets in and she adopts the “Madam” lifestyle.
For others, misfortune and discouragement is their ticket to “inertia-city”. A failed business, denied admission, broken relationship, death of a loved one. For them, what doesn’t kill them also doesn’t make them stronger, it leaves them on their bum and in inertia.
It’s time for action, Nike would say ” just do it”. No matter your situation, irrespective of how good or bad it is, it could get better. You might be the best in your field, it’s time to go into another field. Remember Usain Bolt getting into 200m and the Relays after conquering the 100m, Michael Jordan coming into Baseball after Basketball, even in the academics, there are lots of people who switched specialty after getting to the pinnacle of one.
If you need a reason to start, remember, there is more honor in trying and failing than never trying. If you need a reason to continue, know that the story of victory is only told by the conquerors. If you need a reason to go again after winning, know that the world is waiting to find out “what is better than perfection?”.