Saturday, May 25, 2013

Newton's Laws-Part 3

It has almost been a month now that we have been talking about Newton and his three laws… and we’re almost through. Understanding the Third Law took me a little longer than expected… not because it was difficult but because of the mundane simplicity of this law.

Newton’s Third law states: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

In school your teacher must have given you the typical example of how you experience a kick when you shoot a rifle. It is nothing but the sheer force of propelling the bullet forward that pushes you backward. See Newton’s law working here? The action (sending the bullet whizzing through the barrel) had an equal and opposite reaction (pushing back the shooter with a not-so-negligible force).

How do we apply it to real life?

Let us do some simple Math. If you and me, both of us have 10 apples and I give you one from my stock… how much is the difference between the apples we have now? Two… right? What happened? How did the transfer of one apple magnify the difference two times? The logic is fairly easy to understand. When I gave you one apple, not only was it equivalent to an increment in your stock but also a decrement in my stock. Hence, one action on your stock had an equal and opposite reaction on my stock of apples.

We can apply the same analogy to our habits. Forming one good habit is also equivalent to kicking one bad habit. Say, you used to smoke 2 cigarettes per day. Reducing it by one has a dual effect. You harm yourself a little less by smoking only one and further benefit your health by not smoking the other one (though this doesn’t mean I support smoking… it is a strict No-No).

Take another example… most young people my age find fighting with their parents a rather amusing activity. Let us say that for one day we took a vow not to argue with them. What happens? Not only do we escape a day filled with sarcastic taunts and angry outbursts, we also experience peace and a certain sense of joy. You see the dual benefit here?

How does it help us?

Newton’s third law gives us this simple formula:
One bad thing less, two good things more

(This seems to be a less elegant version of the maxim adopted by the animal of Animal Farm by George Orwell… Anyone read it?)

#1 Identify the good and the bad that you do. Contrary to our expectations and wishes, life rarely has grey areas. Classify your actions in black and white.

#2 Identify the black habit which can be turned white with the least effort.

#3 What are you waiting for? Turn it white!!!

These three simple steps will guarantee your success in life. And why not… don’t we know that good things come in small packages?

With this we come to the end of the Newton series. I know not if you enjoyed it as much as I did… but even if you didn’t, give these laws a try… they just might help.

Based on the awesome inspirational posts at

Monday, May 13, 2013

Newton's Laws- Part 2

Hard job= More Effort

This week we’ll be talking about Newton’s Second Law of Motion:

The acceleration of a body is directly proportional to, and in the same direction as, the net force acting on the body, and inversely proportional to its mass. Thus,
F = ma, where F is the net force acting on the object, m is the mass of the object and a - the acceleration of the object.

How does this law apply to our life? Ever wondered why, despite your best efforts, you don’t get any closer to your goal? Or why sometimes, you barely feel like you’ve moved a finger, and the work gets done? These little absurdities of life are explained through Newton’s Second Law.

It determines how fast/slow we can achieve our goal or how much effort we need to put in, to reach our destination. The equation is very simple:

F is the effort required of us to taste success.
m is the size of our goal.
a is the speed at which we attain that goal.

For those of you familiar with basic proportion and variations, it is clearly seen that the effort required is directly proportional to the size of the goal.

Now that was easy? Wasn't it?

Take an example, say you have an exam tomorrow and you’re left with only one chapter to study… easy right? You can do it with a blink of the eye. Here, the size of goal (one chapter) is pretty small and so is the effort. On the other hand, say, you hadn’t even started preparing. Big mess!!! You’ll be fretting, sweating, getting anxious and tensed over it. If you want to have even the slightest hope of getting through the exam, you’ll need to burn the midnight oil (well… at least that night). Hence, if the task is big, so is the effort.

Big success needs great efforts… it demands diligence, hard work and never-ending patience. You miss out on any of them, you lose it all. Maybe this is why our parents always want us to imbibe these values… for they know their worth.

The problem arises when we put in inappropriate effort for our targets. Working extremely hard for trivial tasks or barely working for a life-defining opportunity… both amounts to waste. It leads to frustration, low self- confidence and ultimately a loss of capability. 

What can we do about it?

#1 Define your vision: You can work right only if you know exactly what you want. There is a phenomenal difference between saying “I’ll study today” and “I’ll finish the first two chapters of Mathematics today.” Being specific and clear about your goals can be the difference between success and failure..

#2 Keep your expectations low: Heard the saying “Rome was not built in a day”? Remember it. Do not expect miracles right at the commencement of any project/activity. Success is the most elusive of all things, which brings me to the next point…

#3 Be patient: Let things progress naturally… give your best but don’t get disheartened if the results are not as expected. Stay positive about failures- they’re just ways of how not to do a particular thing. Learn from them and keep your cool.

#4 Evaluate your current position: Where are you with respect to your goal… within an arm’s reach or miles off? Calculate the work you still need to do. Find out the effort needed and ask yourself… are you willing to do it?

Life, in short, is nothing but this equation between efforts and success. The more time you spend working for your goal, the closer you get to it. Your vision becomes a reality only when you forget sleep, food and other luxuries life has to offer. It is especially difficult in today’s distraction-friendly world… but then we do hear miracle stories… don’t we?