If you are a football fan, (or the lucky spouse of one ) you understand the idea of momentum as it relates to team sports….and how fast that can change. One team can be marching up and down the field, controlling the line of scrimmage, and simply imposing their will on the other. The confidence of the players of the team with the “momentum” grows, and this feeling spreads to the fans in the stadium. If it’s the home team dominating, the place is rockin’! If it’s not, it’s either pin drops or boo birds.
Let’s imagine it’s the latter, and it’s a playoff game. Loser goes golfing. The stadium is a sea of tension and waning faith. The commentators note the anxiety they can feel in the place.
You are a fan of the home team, and you’re on the couch, biting your nails between deep breaths. You are exhausted from standing and yelling at the TV, pleading with your guys to get their shit together.
All fans have seen the following unfold: a big play, pass interference call or a huge mistake leads to a score for your team. They have a pulse. They kick off, the return team fumbles or the QB throws a pick, and bam, another quick score. 21-zip is now 21-14.
YEAH BABY! You’re on your feet, high-fiving your buddy, no longer exhausted but suddenly ready to lift the couch off the floor during a commercial to retrieve the popcorn you knocked over leaping out of your seat. Hmm….Maybe you’ll vacuum the entire room after the win. The wife would like that. You might get lucky. Your mind is alive with possibility.
The commentator states the obvious: the momentum has shifted.
And how often after this type of momentum swing do you see a defense that had you letting them know, emphatically, that they couldn’t stop the local high school team, suddenly start playing like a bunch of Pro Bowlers? Or an offense that wasn’t converting a single third down start making plays?
No changes of personnel on either side. No change in weather. No trick plays even. They just start winning the matchups. They raise their game. They compete harder.
The opposite starts to happen on the other side. Receivers drop balls. The QB makes a terrible decision. 3 and out. Punt. The line, who was previously opening holes your grandmother could run through, is now getting manhandled. Your team ties the game. You are loving this. You now have the courage to mock the opposition through the TV.
The mood in the stadium changes completely. It is now alive….and loud. The visiting QB had no problem calling plays before, but now on a key 3rd down the thunder from the fans is so loud…you guessed it, false start.
What is happening? Why are things going so differently? Why are players and even coaches performing so much better…or worse?
In my humble opinion, it is simple. Beliefs are changing. And there is great power in that. Our thoughts and beliefs in a given moment drive our emotions, which in turn spawn more thoughts equal to that emotion. A cycle. Momentum…one way or the other.
From the players, to the coaches, to the fans in the seats…beliefs have changed, and it is empowering some and weakening others. It is a dramatic thing to watch, is it not? It can be thrilling or heartbreaking.
My life’s journey of late has given me opportunity after opportunity to see the same power of belief at work. It amazes me how a single empowering decision, even one regarding something of relatively little perceived importance, can completely change my outlook.
I’m too tired. I’m too weak. I don’t have the discipline. I don’t have time. I don’t have the money. My body won’t allow it. Someone may laugh at me.
Limiting beliefs come in shapes, sizes and depths, and stepping through them gives our lives momentum.
Doesn’t it feel great to stop procrastinating and decide to clean out that junk drawer, closet or garage that you’ve been meaning to get to? How often has the momentum of that decision led to another? You got off your ass, mowed the lawn, and suddenly felt inspired to winterize the pool? Or take out the chainsaw and cut…anything.
Do you remember deciding to ride that bike for the first time without training wheels? The moment it became ok for Dad to let go of the seat and let you ride? (If you are my age perhaps it’s easier to remember this with your kids.) How quickly did doing circles in the driveway turn into riding all over the neighborhood?
Empowerment. It expands our world. Possibility appears out of thin air.
Deciding to talk to that girl. To kiss that girl. Propose to that woman.
Finding the courage to stand up for yourself.
Finding the courage to say no to yourself.
If your life lacks the momentum of joy and gratitude, you can change that. If you just feel stuck, bored, old or downright depressed, you can change that.
If you are tired of finding distractions to avoid the feelings of fear, anger or disappointment that greet you every time you stop thinking, take heart.
Momentum is a decision away.