A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

STARTING OFF



For the first dozen or so years that I held a driving licence, I owned nothing but wrecks. I was 30 years old before I ever paid more than £500 for a car. And I became quite well known for the cosmetic appearance of my cars. If someone was having trouble explaining who I was, they’d say something like…

“You know who I mean… he drives that white Beetle with the exhaust hanging off that looks like it’s been peppered with a shotgun.”

And immediately a connection would be made…

“Oh I know him…”, they’d say “used to have that bright purple Cortina with the bumpers missing.”

So imagine how exciting it was for me when my boss at the time let me drive his brand new Jaguar XJ6. Several things struck me about the car, compared to what I’d been used to. All the doors actually opened for a start. So there was no need for the passenger to risk a nasty internal injury scrambling over the gear stick. And all the panels were the same colour too. There was nothing on the car that had previously been part of another car that had died or crashed into a lamppost…

And the really exciting thing was that it had an on-board computer too. Now this was the first time, I’d ever seen a computer which measured fuel consumption – not just average fuel consumption, but ‘instant’ fuel consumption at any one moment in time.

I was shocked by what it told me...

You see, I already had a rough idea what the average fuel consumption for that car would be (measure in lamp posts per gallon), but what I didn’t realise at all, until then, was what really burned up the petrol like there was no tomorrow. In my simple brain, I’d equated high consumption with ‘going fast’, but that wasn’t it at all.

No, what really caused the fuel needle to lurch to the left was rapid acceleration… and changing from one speed to another.

Once you got up to speed, maintaining it was a comparatively frugal exercise… but getting there in the first place… that took a nell of a lot of energy.

I should have already known this of course. Firstly because I’d endured Mr Jenner’s painstaking explanation of Newton’s laws of motion during O’ Level Physics, and secondly, because I had a fair amount of experience of the energy required to push start a broken down vehicle. I think this is something young people often miss out on today. It’s probably becoming a dying skill.

Getting the thing moving is obviously the hard bit. Once it’s under way and up to speed, the burning in your thighs and lungs subsides a bit and then you're cruising. It takes a lot less energy to maintain the momentum, than it does to build it.

I’m sure you can see where this is heading…

Back at work, when I was trying to get various projects and businesses off the ground in the early days, it was always a bit of a struggle. I’d look at other people operating in the same field and they didn’t seem to be struggling like I ever was. It seemed easy for them. And yet when I analysed what they were doing, I just couldn’t work out what they had that I didn’t. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that it eventually became clear.

What they had was momentum.

Whilst I was in an intense ‘acceleration’ period, and hence using an awful lot of energy, they had reached cruising speed and the energy requirements for them were not so great. They were running along with the car already moving, while I was still trying to get it away from the mark.

I think this explains why so many people get disheartened and give up in the early stages of a business or money making project. I hear from people on a regular basis who are not progressing as quickly as they’d like to. They see others, seemingly making great strides in an effortless manner, and think they must be missing a vital ingredient - one of the secret keys to success.

In truth, all they’re really missing is some momentum. The good news though is that anyone can build it – in time. The bad news is that you can’t just ‘magic’ it up.

Here’s the thing though - once you’ve actually built momentum, the effort reward relationship is reversed. Whilst you’re building it, you put more in than you get out. Once you’re maintaining it, you get more out than you put in.

The sad thing is that the great majority of people give up before the transition – disillusioned and confused – just at the point that the wheels are about to really start turning.

If any of this is relevant to your situation right now, a spot of objective analysis is all that is needed. Is there really anything wrong with your business – or is it just a case of waiting for the momentum to take hold.

Only you can know for sure, so please be prepared to check it out before handing in the towel.



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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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