Acceleration, Speed, and Velocity- Using Armchair Physics to Get it Done!
By allowing the positive ions to pass through an electric field and thus giving them a certain velocity, it is possible to distinguish them from the neutral, stationary atoms.” -Johannes Stark
Physics…blah blah blah.
I know what you’re thinking, “what the hell does this guy know about physics?” Well, to be 100% honest, probably not much, which is why I pointed out that it is “armchair physics,” and all within the reach of Google if one can just think of what questions to ask. In fact, when I originally thought of the idea for this post, I was going to just call it Speed v. Acceleration, but then I learned how velocity actually differed from the other two and how it fits into my life. For instance, the quote above is literally talking about ions and atoms, but consider what the implications would be when we apply it to people. People with velocity are easily distinguishable from neutral, stationary people since they are moving toward something.
Acceleration is easy to define, it’s simply the increase in the rate of something’s speed. There’s no denying the fact that acceleration feels good. When you take off from a dead stop at the stoplight, and you feel your engine pulling hard, the centrifugal force pins you to your seat, you get a thrill. Of course, the minute you have to stand on the brake to slow back down for the next light the thrill goes away. The thing is though, if you’re constantly feeling that acceleration, it means that your not making very much headway. You’re never getting up to a good cruising speed. The same is true in your other endeavors. Take blogging for instance. A lot of people get started like a dragster banging through the gears on their way to the finish line, but then what? Most bloggers put out good content for a few months, then die off. The same is true of countless other pursuits. It’s so common in fact, that I’m fairly confident that you know exactly what I’m talking about and have done it at least once yourself. It sure feels good to jump into a new hobby or interest every couple of months, but unless you remain focused after the thrill of acceleration fades, you will not make much progress.
Speed seems quite easy to define, but we have to be clear with it; it refers to the “rate at which someone or something is able to move or operate.” Speed is good, but only if it is applied in the right direction. Going fast just for the sake of going fast is not going to get you there. There are plenty of people in the world who spend all of their time moving quickly, but fail to really make any progress toward their goals. Unfortunately, our society oftentimes seems to promote this behavior by rewarding people for being busy rather than for being effective. If you’re working your ass off, but you’re not moving toward your goals, then you need to slow down and check your bearings. You are most likely walking in circles, albeit very quickly.
Cheesy headlines aside, velocity really is what we need if we’re going to get things done. Velocity is defined much like speed, however it points out that it is the speed of something moving in a given direction. Whereas speed is simply movement without any regard for direction. If you are going to reach your goals, you have to first define them, (we’ll get to that…) then you just have to start moving and keep moving toward them. This will give you infinitely greater velocity than walking in circles, regardless of what your speed is.
Lets Get Moving!
Acceleration is easy and it feels good. You get all kinds of endorphins rushing through your body and you feel good when you’re accelerating, but that fades quickly. Once it fades you have to actually work to maintain your speed, but instead of relying on the rush of feelings, you’re going to have to get rational and set checkpoints that you can use as a guide. If you’re maintaining your speed and not seeing any of your checkpoints, then it’s time to check and make sure you’re headed in the right direction. If you’re not, readjust and get back at it. If you are on the right path, just keep moving forward. Never stop moving, don’t fret if your speed isn’t what you think it should be, your velocity, the rate at which you’re moving toward your goal is more important than how fast you feel like you’re moving. Going too fast may be enough to throw you off course, which would take you back to the problem of going around in very fast circles, rather than slowly and consistently moving toward our final goal.
*I know this can all be summed up by the story of the tortoise and the hare, but the fact that I see so many people screwing this up on a daily basis means that some of us could use a reminder!
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