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Avoid Being an Average Person

What Newton’s Law of Physics Teaches About Mediocrity

Newton’s Law of motion is one of the greatest laws of the universe. This law was formulated by Sir Isaac Newton, often considered to be among the greatest geniuses of all time.

The law states: “Every object continues in a state of rest, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it.

According to this law, the state of rest or mediocrity is the state that every object would love to be in. Objects naturally would love to be in a state of rest, simply because the restful state is the state that requires the least amount of effort or energy. It takes a force or push in order to change the state of an object. Consider the image in Figure 1. An “ordinary” pendulum will continue to swing but due to frictional (negative or opposing) forces from air, the “ordinary” pendulum’s motion will get dampened as time goes by until it finally settles to a state of rest or mediocrity.

However, if more and more energy is being supplied to the swinging ball, the ball will continue to swing amidst negative forces that are trying to slow it down.

Figure 1. A push is required to keep this ball in motion, otherwise negative forces (friction from air) will eventually cause the ball to settle to a state of restfulness (mediocrity). Source:

Application to Humans

It is very easy to settle for mediocrity. As a matter of fact, the majority of people are average people. That’s why most people will settle for mediocrity. To be successful, you need to rise above mediocrity. You need to “push” yourself immensely in order to fight the spirit of mediocrity. You need to be an above-average person to be successful.

Case Study: My Journey as a data science writer

When I wrote my first article on medium in June of 2018, I was writing just for exploratory purposes. A friend of mine had introduce me to medium just a month before my first article was published. After reading some articles on the platform, I said to myself, this is such a cool platform, why not give it a try by writing an article and posting it on medium. At that time, I had no idea that there was such a thing as the medium partner program which rewards writers based on how much time subscribed members spend reading their story.

In my first 7 months of writing on medium, I was barely surviving. My stories were not receiving enough views and reads. However, I was enjoying every moment of the experience. My goal was that if my story could inspire just one person, then I would consider that a success.

In January 2019, I joined the partner program. In the next 5 months (February 2019 to June 2019), I made an average of $5/month from my medium articles. Even though $5/month seemed insignificant, it was an achievement that inspired me to keep writing. I said to myself, If I could make $5/month, then I could make $10, $20, $100, $200,$1,000 on a monthly basis from writing.

From October 2019 to present, I’ve been making on average $600/month from my medium stories. I have now published a total 96 medium articles, and my articles are receiving on average 50,000 monthly views. In addition to that, I now have a total of 2,200 followers, and these statistics continue to get better every day. According to medium partner program’s writers newsletter, only about 8% of active writers earn $100 and above per month. Since I currently earn on average $600 per month as a medium writer, I consider myself to be in top 8% of all medium writers. My goal is to keep writing, and writing, and writing. I would love to reach a milestone of 1,000 published articles on medium.

Lessons learned from my experience as a medium writer

  1. To succeed as a writer or in any other area of life, you need to continue to push yourself to get better and better and better each and every day. Personal development is the key to success. Personal development does not come by easy. Only those who are willing to push harder will succeed. You need to be above average to be successful. So continue to fight hard, and work hard, and you’ll definitely achieve your goals.
  2. Action is required for success. No matter how great your plans and goals may seem, if action is not taken to accomplish your goals, then your goals are simply dreams. Action is needed to convert a dream into a reality.
  3. Success requires time and patience. It took me over a year of hard work and relentless effort to get to where I am today as a writer. There were moments where I felt like I was out of ideas. I didn’t know what my next article would be about. But because the determination was there, I kept recreating myself and exploring different areas where I could base my articles on. I started out writing mostly on core data science with lots of quantitative analysis. These days, I’ve switched my efforts mostly to data science education.
  4. There will always be friction. Forces of friction (negative forces) exists in real life. These opposing forces, if not properly addressed, have the tendency to slow you down or cause discouragement. As a writer, your goal is to see your articles gain as much views and reads as possible. However, there will be periods when you will not be getting as much success as anticipated. Don’t let this discourage you. Instead, keep looking for ways to improve the quality of your articles, as high quality articles will generally receive more views and reads.
  5. Learn to convert negative energy into positive energy. In writing and other aspects of life, there will be people that will criticize or make fun of you in your journey to success. Don’t let this negative energy to slow you down. Instead, use the criticism as a springboard to challenge yourself to do even more and put in more effort to reach your goals. I’ve had some really strong criticisms about certain aspects of some of my articles. Each time somebody makes a criticism in the form of a feedback, I always focus on the positive side. I look for the good in the feedback, and and try to consider lessons that I can learn and pitfalls to avoid in future articles.
  6. Success requires discipline. When you set a goal for yourself, you need to discipline yourself and stick to healthy daily routines that would enable you to reach your goals.

The example learned from Newton’s law is clear. There are several negative forces that are present to slow a person down. The greatest of this negative forces is yourself. Unless you work extremely hard and push yourself to become above average, your natural tendency that is intrinsic to your being is to settle for mediocrity. So mediocrity is a natural state. To be successful in life, you must rise above average and become extraordinary.

Let’s discuss some areas of life where Newton’s law can be applicable:

  1. Weight Loss: Are you trying to shed off some pounds? Do you push yourself above and beyond to achieve your goals? Do you exercise on a daily basis? Do you have a fixed routine of your exercise? Do you eat properly? It takes hard work and effort, but unless you keep pushing and pushing, you wouldn’t achieve your goals.
  2. Athlete: Are you an athlete? Are you trying to reach some goals in life. To be successful, you need to push yourself to unexpected levels in order to reach your full potential. The human body and the brain are designed in such a way that by self-motivation and effort, we can achieve goals that are seemingly impossible. I started running everyday from last summer. When I just started, I could not do half a mile of non-stop slow pace running without feeling out of breath. As I practiced each and every day, improving myself in incremental amounts, I got better and better. Now I can do 5 miles of non-stop slow pace running. This was an impossibility for me a year ago. My goal is to keep pushing and pushing. I would love to participate in a marathon race one day.
  3. Student: As a student, what are your goals? Are you just interested in passing your classes or are you are interested in obtaining the highest grade? If you don’t push yourself by working hard, you will settle for mediocrity. Set clear goals for yourself at the beginning of every semester, and make it your goal to be the best in your class.
  4. Finance: Are trying to build wealth? What is your path to financial freedom and wealth? Do you have a plan of action? What are your spending habits? Do you have a side hustle? If you can’t rise above being an average person, you wouldn’t be able to build wealth.
  5. Writer: What are your goals? Can you make it a goal to improve the quality and quantity of your articles? Do you consider writing as a source of side-income? If you don’t have solid goals in mind, you wouldn’t be able to rise above average. Keep writing and writing and writing.

In summary, we’ve discussed the implications of Newton’s law and applied it to humans. Newton’s law is a fundamental law of nature that is applicable to humans as well. Irrespective of what career path you choose to pursue in life, one thing is clear, success is deserved and is not for all. Only those that push themselves to become above average will become successful.

Physicist, Data Science Educator, Writer. Interests: Data Science, Machine Learning, AI, Python & R, Predictive Analytics, Materials Sciences, Biophysics

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