The tenth energetic law of leadership is about the tendency of things to stay exactly as they are, at least below the surface. This law helps explain why most of our attempts to change ourselves tend to fail and result in the same experience of life (even if they manage to create surface-level change).
The law of inertia is analogous to the same physical law. The physical law of inertia states that objects in motion will tend to remain in motion, unless an external force is applied to them. Likewise, objects at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless an external force is applied to them.
The inertia of the tenth energetic law is a function of the way our blind spots work.
Our blind spots prevent us from seeing the bigger picture. They keep us staring at the tree in front, and unable to see the forest we’re caught in. Because you cannot see your own blindspots, any attempts you make to change your experience of an expression in life will automatically be filtered through your blindspots.
The blind spot doesn’t stop you from seeing a solution to the problem you’re presented with — rather, it stops you from seeing the problem as a part of a greater whole. Consequently, your solution is as much a part of what keeps you stuck as the problem it seeks to remedy. They’re both a part of the same cycle you are inertially stuck in.
Let’s look at this using the example of Gertrude. Gertrude is someone that naturally exudes the quality of Generosity. No matter where you bring Gertrude, no matter where she ends up, she brings into the space Generosity and gratitude.
However, as Gertrude has grown up, she learned that her innate Generosity wasn’t just something that was there for free, but rather an obligation and a duty. To show up without a gift to someone’s dinner party was the height of moral debasement. Only a selfish ingrate would do something like that, and Gertrude would never be that kind of person.
As a result, Gertrude’s Generosity is constantly on overdrive. This overdrive has gotten Gertrude to where she currently is in life, but now it holds her here. If she wants to step into the next level of leadership and a new experience of life, she’s going to need to be able to create a new experience of her Generosity, and to allow it to be expressed free of “shoulds” and stories about what is right and wrong.
Currently, Gertrude’s experience of life is generally that of a doormat that is taken for granted. She’s kind, loving, and goes out of her way to be generous to other people, and yet she feels like it’s never reciprocated enough.
Gertrude is constantly left feeling like a martyr, oftentimes resentful at other people for their lack of gratitude.
As described earlier, rather than simply being generous, Gertrude is fundamentally trying to perform generosity because she feels it is the “right” thing to do. Performing Generosity because it is the right thing to do will never be the same as the genuine expression of Generosity.
Put another way, Gertrude is actually the expression of “being generous because that’s what she should be”, rather than the genuine expression of Generosity. One step further, Gertrude’s life is really the expression of “doing what she should”.
No amount of “doing something because you should”, will ever really create the experience of Generosity. In fact, it’s led to resentment over time, because Gertrude is taking action not from a genuine desire to do so, but because she is “supposed to”.
Gertrude is left with some kind of pseudo-experience of Generosity. She can intellectually describe to us how her life has plenty of Generosity, while never really having that experience in her heart.
Now let’s say Gertrude gets inspired one weekend and decides to make some changes in her life. She decides she’s tired of feeling like a doormat, and it’s time to get her own. Gertrude throws off the yoke of being “generous because she should”, and instead puts her focus on what she wants.
Gertrude triumphantly starts grabbing for what she believes, and stops caring about what other people might want.
At first, this will feel like a genuine shift for Gertrude, because she’s able to take some new actions that were previously unavailable. For example, she can show up to a dinner party without a gift, and she notices this saves her some time.
But alas, this new stance does nothing to alleviate the guilt Gertrude now feels. Someone has opened their heart to Gertrude, and she feels like she’s taking that without any thanks. Gertrude could harden her heart at this point, turning off her empathy and no longer caring about other people’s experience, or, she could just decide to live with her guilt.
Either way, while Gertrude feels less like a doormat, her life is now the expression of “I take what I want, and don’t worry about other people”, or “I don’t have to worry about how other people feel.”
And notice that neither of these two expressions of Gertrude’s life (nor her leadership) is actually “Generosity”.
Gertrude has shifted things a great deal on the surface, but her underlying experience of life, and the expression of her leadership, are still fundamentally lacking the same thing: the genuine, innate Generosity that she embodies.
Gertrude’s attempts to change will forever stay caught in this particular struggle, because that is her inertia. The practices she takes on, the things she seeks to do will be well-meaning and well-intentioned, but they all arise from within Gertrude, and are consequently coloured by her blindspots.
It will require an external force — a coach, a leader, or some external event provided by the chaos of life — that provides Gertrude the opportunity to see what she cannot see on her own.
Until Gertrude either chooses into this kind of external force, or is dealt it dramatically by life (maybe a tornado comes and hits her home, a loved one dies, etc.), she will forever be caught inside the inertia described by the tenth law.
Learn more about each of the The Energetic Laws of Leadership here.