What we can learn from boiling water

We all know that when water reaches 100 degrees Celsius it boils and starts to produce steam, or evaporation. The process of heating increases the kinetic and potential energy of the water, allowing it to change state. Simple science, right?

photo by leeontheroad

photo by leeontheroad

Did you know that in order for water to completely turn to steam, a large amount of energy must be added to overcome the remaining forces between the molecules that hold them together? Which means that it’s not a linear process. Heating water produces steam, but in order to completely transform, extra energy is required. If energy is just gradually applied, a total state change is not possible.

It got me thinking about people and change. How many times do we hear the word “plateau” when people are talking about progress, whether it is with health and weight loss, finances or career? Or simply things not moving as expected, resulting in losing motivation? More often than not, extra effort is required at this plateau stage or whatever it is you are working to achieve will not happen. Change is not a linear process. And it’s proven by science. Nothing in nature is linear.

We see this play out in all aspects of life. Let’s take New Year’s resolutions. Efforts always start off well, with effort (energy) being put in resulting in success initially. Look at how full gyms are in January! Over time, the effort is abandoned as the results do not continue in a linear fashion without even MORE effort. It’s disheartening. This is normally when people give up as it does not seem worth it anymore. Gyms start emptying in February and March.

As we prepare for the New Year ahead, think about the changes you want to make, and the effort required to truly succeed. What does success look like? What effort will it take? Will there be times when extra effort will be required? What can you do now to prepare for these times? By accepting and embracing that linear effort will not get you the outstanding results you are after, you can use the laws of nature to create the future you deserve. Best wishes for 2013!