Researchers Lauren McCann and Gabriel Weinberg write in their book Super Thinking
that you can use the physics principle of inertia
as a metaphor to understand how your past influences your present, and possibly your future.
In physics, inertia is a physical object’s resistance to changing its current state of motion.
As a metaphor, inertia can describe resistance to any change in direction.
For example, take your beliefs. If you’re like most people, many of your core political, religious, and social beliefs can be traced to your family and the geographic culture in which you were raised.
Have you reevaluated any of your core beliefs recently?
If you haven’t, you’re probably hanging on to many beliefs that conflict with other beliefs you later adopted. Or maybe you have some beliefs that you’ve never questioned, even as your context and interests have changed over time.
As McCann and Weinberg point out, we tend to have inertia in our beliefs because of confirmation bias
and other factors.
That inertia can increase over time: “The more inertia you have, the more resistant you will be to changing these beliefs, and the less likely you will be to adapt your thinking when you need to.”
McCann and Weinberg suggest that you can fight such personal inertia by questioning your assumptions and adapting new ways of thinking.
This exercise is increasingly important as your environment becomes more dynamic.