Success in the Moment, or with Momentum?

Insight vs follow through

As I reflect on the changing of calenders, the different nature of moment and momentum comes to mind. Do important things happen because we have a sudden insight, or do they happen because we get going and stay moving in the right direction?

The idea or inspirational thought that invokes change in our lives is important – but is it most important?

The work of getting things done is also important – the long string of success made up of a series of small successes – all leading in the same direction. But is it most important?

Which means more, inspiration or perspiration?

Shared roots, shared importance

Checking the free dictionary, both moment and momentum have the same root – the Latin “mōmentum”, movement, from “movimentum”.

Interestingly enough, we think of a moment as the shortest segment of that movement – the significant brief section of time when something momentous happens.

When looking at momentum though, we follow the concept that an object in motion will stay in motion – over time.

Perhaps they complement each other…

The start

What happens without a trigger event?

Not much.

Without a trigger, the idea never gets recorded, the concept left ignored, the article (like this one) remains unwritten.

The results

But just as surely, what happens without effort?

A string of incomplete responses.

Without effort, the groundbreaking invention stays on the drawing board, the organization fades away, the successful web site remains a dream.

Does anybody really know what time it is?

And aside from being a great Chicago tune, it brings us back to the one concept that both words relate to: time.

Where you are does depend on where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing – the perspiration, but you have to live in the moment – the inspiration, because you can’t live in any other time.

Time – that’s the really important thing to remember.

What are you working on this year?


  1. I think “inspiration”–we are hardwired for efficiency. In order to drive and drive hard–we need to know there is value at the destination.

    When I see loss of momentum in the executives I coach it is usually not loss of energy–but loss of clarity.
    Happy New Year!

  2. ccSteve says:

    Thanks for the comment Jenn.It seems reasonable that those that drive hard need re-direction every once in a while.

    If only to play devil’s advocate, could it be that those inspired but lacking drive never get out of the starting gate?-)


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