Fear and Inertia

“She started it!” “No, he started it!” “No, she started it!”… We’ve all heard this one before… Somebody did something that didn’t go quite the way it was supposed to and now nobody wants to take responsibility for it. That’s the problem and part of the fear that keeps us from starting something: “It might not go as planned and I don’t want to look foolish or have to take the responsibility for the failure.” Am I right?

Take this blog for instance… I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a very long time. I think I’ve got some pretty interesting thoughts on a lot of different topics. I listen to a lot of really interesting audiobooks. I run. I coach. I play music. I’m a owner/partner in an amazing company (CompanyBE.com) with a wide variety of clients. I know lots of interesting people. My life, itself, is anything but boring and consistently produces lots of fodder worth blogging about. So why didn’t I start years ago? Answer: Fear and inertia!

Fear: Everybody is afraid of something. Snakes, spiders, the dark, clowns, gummy worms (well, maybe not those). The level of fear that you have concerning these areas will vary from person to person. Some people will be so scared of spiders that if they see just one or two in their homes, they’ll be ringing up their friends to come and remove them instead. Failing that, they may even consider using a professional terminix company to come and exterminate all of the spiders they may be loitering in their residence. There will be others, however, who will have this level of fear when it comes to something else. I’ve had to deal with many fears throughout my life, with the fear of rejection and embarrassment being the biggest. I remember writing poems and short stories in high school, but never showing them to anyone because I was afraid they weren’t good enough. I remember learning to play the guitar and sing and how terrified I was during my first public performance in college–worried that my friends would laugh or disapprove. We all deal with fear on many levels and it keeps us from doing the things we dream of doing.

Inertia: According to Wikipedia, “Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion.” Bottom line is this: it’s simply easier to keep doing the things we are already doing, rather than spend the energy (physical and/or emotion) needed to start something new. Procrastination is another problem that has plagued me for most of my life. I’ll just do it tomorrow. I’m even fond of quoting Benjamin Franklin, who said “Don’t put off to tomorrow the things you can put off until the day after tomorrow!” There are so many songs, stories, poems, letters and blog posts left unwritten just because I haven’t been in the regular practice of writing.

Day 3 of the “15 Habits of Great Writers” workshop is titled “Initiate”. Start something. Say something. Write something, anything. Just do it! That’s the theme of today’s lesson, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m starting the ball rolling, hoping it will pick up speed and develop it’s own inertia. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. It’s hard to change. I know all too well how hard it is to start something. But I look back on all of things I do now–things I love doing and are now part of who I am–and I remember the work it took to get those things moving and I am encouraged. I CAN DO IT!

What do you want to start but haven’t because of fear and inertia? A blog? A business? Exercising? Be bold, be strong and do it! You can start by leaving me a comment about this post!

10 Responses to Fear and Inertia

  1. leighann June 7, 2012 at 10:18 PM #

    Blogging is a good release. And I am going to learn to sew…let’s do it.

    • Bruce Van Horn June 7, 2012 at 11:35 PM #

      Leigh Ann, that’s great! Let’s get started! The trick is baby steps, every day, until it becomes something that’s just part of our normal routine. Good luck!

  2. Heather June 7, 2012 at 11:04 PM #

    Bruce, you just inspired me!!! Good luck!! I hope your ball is a snow ball. Getting bigger and better with every roll. 🙂

  3. Elizabeth Van Horn June 10, 2012 at 12:12 AM #

    Great job, Bruce. I’ve read all of your entries and you really have a talent for writing. I think it’s great that you are taking this new adventure.

    I have a research article that I need to revise and resubmit for publication. I’ve had it on my ‘to do’ list for about 6 months. I’ll contract with you to get it resubmitted within the next 2 weeks. Keep up the good work!

    • Bruce June 10, 2012 at 1:03 AM #

      Liz, Sandy says she’ll help you get it revised.

  4. Bruce Van Horn June 10, 2012 at 12:24 AM #

    Liz, thanks for your comments! As for your article, mine are just the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind. A research article is more like reanimating human brain cells… and I’m a Van Horn, not a Von Frankenstein!

  5. Elizabeth Van Horn June 10, 2012 at 3:27 PM #

    Surprisingly, many research articles are in fact, nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind….the only difference is, research articles are peer-reviewed.

  6. Patrick January 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM #

    Wow! I am really enjoying this website. I thought I had heard/read everything there is when it comes to what is often termed “self-help” or “self-improvement”. These blog posts and many of your tweets are a fresh and new take on classic strategies, but they’ve made me believe again. I’m always striving to be positive, but that voice just gets in the way. When I read your words, however; there is some tension that releases. Your take on things is just what I need right now. Hopefully, with this altered perspective, I can sustain and increase the success I’ve achieved. I’m embarking on a journey of becoming a writer which has brought me great joy. Reflecting on that just affirms the message of these articles. I’m just hope to tap into the type of focus that will help win over procrastination and self-sabotage and go to the next level. Never doubt that your work is invaluable. Thank you very much.

    • Bruce January 23, 2014 at 2:55 PM #

      Patrick, I’m very happy to hear that you are enjoying the posts and finding them useful! Every writer wants to hear that kind of feedback, so THANK YOU! Best wishes on your own writing, too! If there is anything I can do to help, just reach out and let me know.


Leave a Reply