The Magic Of Momentum: What Goes Up Slowly Comes Down Fast

Most things in life that are worth it are difficult to achieve. For example, it’s tough to build a successful business, form new habits, quit smoking, etc.

Here are some scary statistics to back that up:

  • 90% of all startups fail.
  • 96% of all small businesses fail within 10 years.
  • 94% of smokers who want to quit fail.
  • 92% of people quit their new year’s resolutions.

Yes, you will fail. There’s nothing wrong with that. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about WHY most of us fail. We quit before we achieve momentum.

You see, whenever you start something new, it’s difficult to follow through. We often quit too early when we experience setbacks.

A lot has been said about conquering obstacles, not giving up, and expecting the worst — but when push comes to shove, we quit anyway.

Motivational quotes won’t help you during tough times. And instead of relying on blind faith or fluffy promises, start to take a look at the statistics more in-depth.

One of my friends wants to start a business. Recently we were talking about the failure rates. I was like: “Did you know 96% of all business fail within 10 years?”

I could see his face turning white with fear. He said:

“That’s pretty scary stuff. That makes you really rethink your approach.”

And he’s right. Starting a business, getting your dream job, losing weight, finding a spouse, or anything else that’s worth it is NOT easy. But at the same time, numbers can also be so scary that we never start.

Intention Beats Everything

Let’s take a closer look at failure rates. According to the Small Business Administration, 33% of businesses fail during their first two years.

What does that tell us?

Survive your first two years and you’re already performing better than a third of all businesses, or people. That’s like many things in life. Most people just quit before they reach some sort of success.

For instance, research shows that on average, it takes 66 days to for a new habit. But most people never give themselves enough time to form new habits.

And when they are unsuccessful, they think, “I suck.” Well, no, you don’t suck. You just need to keep going.

And it’s safe to say that there’s only one thing that’s important when you start something:


And that’s also backed by science. According to the cognitive theory of planned behavior, coined by Icek Ajzen, actions can be predicted by intentions.

The research is pretty convincing. In a study, done by Barbara Orser and colleagues, they found a relationship between growth willingness of the business owner (an indication of intention) and firm growth over a four-year period.

See, it’s not ALL bad.

The great news about this research is that YOU control intention. YOU control your actions and your effort. So in a way, the faith of your business, life, career, health, is in your hands—not circumstances or statistics.

To be successful, all you need is intention, plus another vital thing: Momentum.

The Magic Of Momentum

The way up is always more difficult than the way down. You know this. It’s physically more straining to walk uphill than downhill.

Why don’t you apply that analogy to your life and business?

I look at starting anything big in life like this:

It’s like pushing a ball of stone up a mountain. Of course, the way up is more difficult. But when you’ve pushed the mofo all the way to the top, all you have to do is give it a slight push, and it goes down by itself.

That’s momentum.

In a study by Rolland LeBrasseur and colleagues, that examined the relationship between growth momentum; I found something interesting.

It showed that startups that had a high level of activity in their first year, experienced a larger growth in their second year.

That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

The more you do, the more committed you are, and the more intent you show NOW, the more it will pay off LATER.

This law only holds true if you put in the energy to push the ball of stone up the mountain. You don’t have to go fast — just make sure you go steady. Because most people quit before they reach the top of the mountain.

What To Do When You Reached The Top Of The Mountain

Don’t smile yet. There’s another mountain waiting for you:

And after that, there’s another mountain. Up and down. Up and down.

Now it’s your turn: Up and down.

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