Be Water

Momentum is only ever conserved in closed systems in Physics. But when it comes to progress and getting things done in life, it takes constant effort and work to maintain it.

Productive routines should be cherished, and re-enforced constantly when you have them down. It’s all too easy to re-establish bad habits long after you thought they were gone. But when you’re in a good flow, and you have productive routines, you have to do everything in your power to keep doing them. And you have to figure out specifically why they’re working, so you can replicate that sort of productive flow.

I think we all do our best to maintain productive habits. Among them crafting systems that work for specific projects you have to do repeatedly, waking up earlier, researching and planning out ways to optimize the results of future endeavors so you give them the best shot at success, exercising consistently for improved energy, etc. etc. It’s just about impossible to list them all. But one of the most important aspects of maintaining momentum is the ability to adapt. We can set into place rigid systems, but if we lack the fluidity to change our approaches to best maintain our momentum, then we risk stagnation. And oftentimes, an approach that worked for a while may need to be tweaked to improve its efficiency. Or scrapped altogether for a better way of doing things.

It’s well documented that adaptability is just about the most important trait for dealing in the modern world. Things change so much faster nowadays than they did centuries prior. We can have systems, many of which will always be relevant and work regardless of changing outside circumstances. But for those situations where external circumstances affect momentum, you have to modify your systems to keep moving forward. Which reminds me a lot of a Bruce Lee quote that I heard a long time ago tangentially related to this thought of adaptability and maintaining flow.

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee