Flywheel: Build Momentum and Think Long-Term

A flywheel is a mechanical device that builds momentum over time, becoming difficult to stop. I use this concept to bring to life the value of thinking with a longterm mindset.

Flywheel: Build Momentum and Think Long-Term

I write a lesson I wished I had learned 10 years earlier, to feed our brains with intelligent content to start our week. I also share interesting articles, book quotes, and the occasional speech or TED talk to help us all get smarter, wiser and live better.

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Happy Sunday!

This week, I want to introduce you all to the concept of a flywheel. It was an idea that I initially came across on the get rich slowly blog. I think it's a great concept that brings to life the value of thinking with a longterm mindset.

"A flywheel is a mechanical device designed to efficiently store rotational energy. Well, that’s how an engineer would describe a flywheel. I majored in English. To me, a flywheel is a wheel that’s really hard to get started. Once it gets going, however, it’s really hard to stop."

Although a flywheel is slow to get started, once it's in motion, it builds momentum and reaches "critical mass", it becomes extremely difficult to stop.

In this sense, a flywheel shares a lot of similarities with "compound interest." If you've seen any compound interest graph, you'll notice that the marginal gains are tiny initially, but become huge over time. In essence, you're not rewarded for your early efforts (despite the hard work) until many years into the future.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Although people generally discuss compound interest in a financial sense, I've previously written to explain that everything in life compounds. Our relationships, happiness, productivity, knowledge and experiences can all be charted on a standard compound interest graph (see article). The rotational movement of a flywheel will also look similar when charted on a graph.

Remembering the flywheel is useful whenever we find ourselves working on something difficult, without much results to show. We shouldn't stop because it's difficult. Instead, we should persevere and build up our resilience. Our aim should be to reach that critical mass, where the flywheel becomes unstoppable. At this point, the marginal gains will be greater than the marginal effort, and we begin to receive the rewards of our early efforts.

Always keep that flywheel in motion, and let it build that momentum over time.

Remember the flywheel, and always think long-term.

Have an awesome week ahead,

Featured Article

Monkeys and Bananas: Thinking Differently and Challenging the Status Quo
I share how thinking differently, challenging the status quo, following our curiosity and a lifelong Lerner attitude can help us become more successful.

Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

This is the best article I have read in a very long time. A good reminder that arguments are a waste of time, even if you have all the facts under the sun to back up your point.

People often continue believing false and inaccurate ideas, even when provided with facts that show otherwise. James argues that the best way to get someone to change their mind is by becoming friends with them, integrating them int your tribe and bringing them into your circle.

“We don't always believe things because they are correct. Sometimes we believe things because they make us look good to the people we care about.”

Read article

Unlikely Optimism: The Conjunctive Events Bias

The conjunctive events bias occurs where we incorrectly believe that the probability of two things happening is higher than just one of those things. I.e. incorrectly believing Linda is a bank teller and a feminist is more probable than Linda is a bank teller.

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Tell Me Who You Spend Time With, And I Will Tell You Who You Are

We're all aware that the people we spend most of our times with shapes our views of the world. They have a significant influence over the path we end up taking in life. This article helps to bring this point to life.

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Tweet of the Week

This Week's Wisdom

“It is easy to get bogged down trying to find the optimal plan for change: the fastest way to lose weight, the best program to build muscle, the perfect idea for a side hustle. We are so focused on figuring out the best approach that we never get around to taking action.”
- In the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear

I use readwise to resurface content I've previously highlighted. My followers can get an extra month for free by following this link.

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