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Momentum can move you forward almost effortlessly – or keep you stuck wherever you are. 

When your positive habits gather momentum, success is on autopilot. But when laziness, complacency and negativity gather momentum, it chains you to the status quo. 

Positive momentum is hard to get started. But it fast-tracks your results and lets you exceed your goals (without working yourself to the bone).

In this episode, you’ll discover how to build and keep momentum so that you can build a great life and share it with others. 

Ready to put your success on autopilot? Listen now!

Show Highlights Include:

  • How “Aristotle’s Way” lets you develop good habits to fast-track success in your work (even if you’re feeling unproductive). (2:19)
  • The sneaky way excuses and distractions keep you from doing your work – and how to eliminate those barriers to finish all the tasks on your list. (3:57)
  • How success turns people into arrogant bums – and how to accomplish your wildest dreams without losing your humility. (6:45)
  • Why friction keeps you from gaining momentum and sabotages your relationships and your career. (7:23)
  • The Harvard study that shows how vacation time, bonuses and raises can slow down your career progress (and why you need forward progress in your work to “unlock” momentum). (10:05)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends, and thank you so very much for joining me today. I want to talk to you about momentum, specifically generating forward momentum by eliminating a lot of those enemies to forward progress, simply to find momentum, mass emotion, and the velocity generated.

Newton's second law of movement teaches us that momentum is a measurement of mass emotion. Any object moving has momentum. The momentum of an object is equal to the mass times velocity. [00:58.0]

In a very simple way, the only way I understand basic physics, I want you to think of momentum as the power generated when a body is moving. Think about a body in terms of everything from an organization to an individual, and you'll realize quickly that momentum affects every area of life from success in business to success on the athletic field, all the way to completing chores around the house to reaching simple goals. That's why I believe that momentum is the trademark of forward progress.

Conrad Hilton, that hotel mogul and founder of the Hilton Hotels said on one occasion, “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit.” There's a beautiful relationship that that quote speaks to. That relationship between consistency and momentum is very important. [02:01.8]

Tony Robbins, a great motivator, he said on one occasion, “It's not what you do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently that shapes our lives.” It reminds me of that Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Aristotle said on one occasion, “You are what you repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence ought to be a habit, not an act.” I'll tell you something, friends. If we want to generate forward momentum, we must be consistent in our behaviors.

Now, after saying that I have to confess to you, that's easier said than done. Let me give you a little sneak peek behind the scenes, if you will. It takes me about a week to prepare a single 15-minute podcast episode, from the original idea all the way through the reading and thinking to writing preliminary drafts to sharing those drafts with whatever staff member is around at the time to edits and reedits and eventually to writing the final draft. It takes about a solid week. [03:11.3]

In my days of preparation for this podcast, I would get on a roll and then I would get interrupted. As long as I can stay on a roll. I can generate momentum. When I generate momentum, I can overcome mental lapses. I can work through physical fatigue. But when I get interrupted, I lose momentum. I lose energy, and the next thing you know, I'm done for the day.

Now, I can't blame all those interruptions on external factors. I can interrupt myself just by simply daydreaming and I get easily distracted, and the next thing you know, I'm off target, right? And so, it caused me to identify a couple of enemies of momentum. See if any of you can relate to this. First enemy, distractions. Distractions just kill momentum. Not because distractions are necessarily bad or inherently evil, but because it takes so long to regroup and get back on track. [04:12.0]

I love what Robin Sharma said on one occasion. He said that the average person is distracted a minimum of two hours every single day, interrupted every 11 minutes, and then it takes 30 minutes to return back to a deep level of thinking. You pay the price when you allow yourself to get distracted.

Here's a second enemy that really rises in my life, excuses how easy it is for me to excuse myself from a task by justifying it based on what I think I want or how I may feel. I've experienced both sides in my world, a world of writing books and preparing sermons and speeches and podcasts. I've experienced the exuberance of pushing through a few minutes longer. That feeling of perseverance is simply unparalleled. [05:10.4]

Also I’ve offered excuses to justify a break for a while, often not returning to my task until the next day. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes we need to pull away to get a fresh perspective, but, regardless, I have to rebuild that momentum from the previous day. The process is not very efficient. I waste time. I waste energy and I delay my progress.

See, friends, momentum is critical to everything we do. Michael McQueen is a fantastic business consultant and he speaks about how we can generate momentum. What I love about McQueen’s approach is that you can apply his methods to any endeavor, from developing better habits to competitive sports. [06:01.5]

By the way, I invite all of you to watch his 10 minute video blog titled The 8 Enemies of Momentum in Direct Selling. For the sake of time, let me highlight just a couple. He says one of the enemies of momentum—now, remember, he's relating this to direct selling, but you can apply this to any aspect of life—he says one of the enemies is complexity, over-Complicating the business or the issue, or the activity, and so the key is how do we keep something simplistic without becoming simple? Conversely, McQueen argues that it's simplicity that drives momentum. I like that. [06:44.1]

The second enemy that McQueen suggests is success. Yep, you heard me right. He said that success breeds complacency, even arrogance. The anecdote? Hunger and humility. Isn't that interesting? You see, this is what drives momentum, according to McQueen, when we're humble. He says humility creates this mindset that we always have more to learn. Hunger creates this mindset that suggests that there is always room to grow.

Let me just give you one last enemy that McQueen suggests. Friction. Friction in an organization, friction in a family, friction will always slow things down. It's the stuff that causes confusion and frustration. And the anecdote against friction? Empathy, putting yourself in someone else's shoes.

Friends, please try to check out The 8 Enemies of Momentum in Direct Selling by Michael McQueen. It's got some great tools for us to practice.

This notion of pushing through for a few minutes, this feeling of accomplishing all the result of making a choice to stay at task, I love that aspect when it comes to forward progress. I’ll tell you, I just really can't speak highly enough about how critical momentum is as to everything we do. [08:18.2]

I was privileged to serve legendary college football coach, R. C. Slocum at Texas A&M University. I began as his chaplain and then he created a position for me called life skills coordinator. I was actually a life skills coach and he hired me because he convinced me that his legacy would not be based on his winning percentage. No, his legacy would be based on how his players turned out in life. He said, “Rick, I’ve got coaches from our running backs and quarterbacks and linemen and receivers. I've got coaches from the linebackers and my corners and my safeties, and the members of the special teams. But I don't have anybody who is assigned specifically to teach these young men essential life skills.” [09:06.4]

So, I spent years on his coaching staff. It was the experience of a lifetime and I bring all that up to tell you this. The one thing that got under Coach Slocum’s skin perhaps more than anything else during a game—as a matter of fact, it angered every single assistant coach—was when a mental lapse on the part of a player produced a personal foul. Watch this. The entire team was penalized, not just the player, but the entire team.

That penalty often resulted in a loss of down and a loss of field position. Momentum was lost. If more momentum is critical in football, and it is, just imagine that sideline greeting that awaited that particular player when you've caused the entire team to lose field position and suffer a deficit when it comes to momentum. [10:03.2]

Years ago, I came across a study from Harvard Business Review. I find this fascinating. Harvard Business Review studied a lot of knowledge-based employees and wanted to ask one question. What generates the highest degree of employee satisfaction? To my surprise, it wasn't bonuses or salaries or incentives. It wasn't vacations. It wasn't clear direction. The number one choice was when the employee sensed forward progress was taking place. Momentum.

When evaluating leaders, what is it that stops forward progress? That was the question that Harvard Business Review went back to that same study group an asked. They told them, “Look at the behaviors of the leaders above you and ask what behaviors will stop forward momentum?” Are you ready for this? Number one, indecision. Number two, withholding resources for no apparent reason, and number three, a self-righteous attitude. Oh, man. [0:11:12.4]

Friends, let's examine some of these enemies from all of our sources today. Let's just review them briefly.

The enemies of momentum: distractions, excuses, complexity.

Success: friction, indecision, withholding resources for no apparent reason, and a self-righteous arrogant attitude.

I want to decrease these variables, and if you, like me, feel overwhelmed by “Where do I begin?” just start with one. Just focus on one. I'm currently working on minimizing distractions. Trust me, it is a full-time job. It's a challenge and as I said earlier, not just from external interruptions, but distractions that I create. I can be my worst enemy. [12:03.4]

I can be writing and working on a chapter, I mean, going strong 45, 50 minutes without a break. All of a sudden, I discover this insatiable desire to check my emails, which leads to checking my Instagram, which leads to checking LinkedIn, which leads to me wanting to write a message, which leads to me examining some of my favorite websites like Overstock.com or the NFL Apparel Shop. Now I’ve got to get Amazon Prime because there's something I have to have by tonight. Do you get it? Can anybody relate?

I've heard it said that it takes a leader to create the momentum, a vision to direct the momentum, massive action to build the momentum, and discipline to sustain the momentum. When I lose energy, when I lose focus, I lose momentum. The key is developing the kind of discipline that will lead to the kind of consistency needed to sustain forward progress. [13:09.7]

That's why I really like this very nice gentle reminder from American actress, Peg Wood, who said on one occasion, “Commitment is the ignitor of momentum.”

Think on these things for a few days, friends, and I hope and trust you will be so encouraged to stay committed, to stay the course, to grow your discipline, to grow your consistency. Every day you're experiencing great forward progress, for, friend, I tell you, that is the key. It's called momentum.

That’s going to do it for this episode. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking you the most important question I can ask, how you livin’? [14:00.0]

Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.

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