Why Momentum Matters More Than Progress (And How to Increase It)

Way back in 1936, a Russian Scientist named Vladimir Lukyanov was tasked with finding a way to improve Russian concrete. To do this, like anyone would do in the 30s, he built his very own computer to aid in his calculations.

But… this computer wasn't just any old machine. No, this computer was powered entirely by water.

Just like all early computers, his water-computer was a giant, room-sized contraption. Through a maze of pumps and tanks, water would eventually settle in reservoirs that would represent the result of a calculation.

Water Computer
Vladimir Lukyanov's Water Computer

This insanely cool computer allowed the Russians to make a ton of progress when it came to making better concrete.

While this progress was important, the momentum this invention gave them was even more impactful. You see, this computer paved the way for the Russians to lead the way in analog computing for years to come.

When it comes to our careers, we often want to focus on blazing a trail too.

Are we making more money than last year? Is the game we're working on now "better" than the last one? And on and on.

Focusing just on raw progress, however, may not be the wisest way to move forward. Instead, focusing on the momentum our actions give us will yield far better results in our careers.

So, what am I going to regale you with today?

Part 1: What is Momentum?

Part 2: Why does it Matter More than Progress?

Part 3: How to Increase Your Momentum

Momentum isn't just about how fast we're going

But instead, how hard it is to stop us. When we're really "feeling it" or are "in a groove" we have a lot of momentum.

When we have a lot of good habits lined up and have no problem doing the things we need to be doing, then we have momentum.

Have you noticed that there are some people

Who just keep having success after success? Hit after hit? The sorts of people who are on a non-stop train of good times? Those are the people with momentum.

So long as they manage themselves well, nothing will be able to stop them. If we want our careers and lives to be stellar, that momentum is exactly what we should be focusing on.

Most of us focus on how well we're doing at any given moment

We're concerned about how well we're doing right now. That sort of measurement can start to feel suffocating and can drown us over a period of time.

Have you ever been in the situation where, no matter what you do, it feels like you're just not moving fast enough? That's a hard feeling to get rid of, especially when we're just focused on where we "should" be in our lives.

Instead, when we focus on momentum, we're focusing on what (usually small) daily actions we're making. Are we showing up every single day, even if it's just for 10 minutes? Are we focused when we do show up? Are we, most importantly, having fun regularly, even if it's just a little bit?

When we're momentum-focused, we're not overly concerned about the results of those actions. The results will come (providing the actions are positive.) Instead, all we care about is taking the proper actions themselves. That's it.

And this momentum makes us feel amazing

Which leads to longer lasting, better-feeling, and easier-to-get results. The better we feel throughout the process of doing what we do, then the easier it is to get more stuff done than anyone else.

We've all been in the situation where we have a new goal, and then try to do way too many things at once - all in the name of getting to our goal quickly.

Unfortunately, we've also seen the fallout of this process: we quit the very thing we set out to do, make absolutely no headway, and we're back to square one, or even worse, so burnt out on what we were doing that it becomes harder to ever come back to it.

There are two curves that could represent our careers

This one, as you can see, is full of ups and downs. Lots of peaks and valleys, good times and bad.

And this one is a smooth upward ascent that leads us to a good result in the end.

If we were to try to predict where the first curve goes next, it would be impossible

We have no idea if things are going to go up or down, nor how wild the swing will be.

But what about the second curve? It's a pretty safe bet that it'll just keep going up.

Which would you rather have?

The thing is, both of these curves are accurate

When we focus on our progress, there will be crazy ups and downs. Good times and bad. A constant roller coaster of emotion and worry.