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The Flywheel Effect🎡
#122 | Mental Models to Live By🧠
Welcome to Wisdom Letter #122.
Today we are talking about the mental model - The Flywheel Effect
In less than 3 minutes.
So let’s get into it👇
“Flywheel Effect - When good things you do lead to more good things ‘just happening’”.
What is the Flywheel effect?
The flywheel effect is a mental model where we visualize the progress of a system analogous to that of a flywheel.
It requires great effort to move a stationary flywheel (imagine merry-go-round) But it becomes less difficult for the subsequent rotation.
When pushed continuously in one direction, it gains a high speed after which it requires little or no push to keep it moving.
Why it matters
The flywheel effect is an example of how one can divorce effort and results.
They need not be linearly aligned. We can achieve great results with little effort if we take the advantage of reinforcing loops.
How it works
The flywheel stores kinetic energy and uses this to accelerate the wheel.
A Flywheel needs to be moved consistently in one direction to be able to take advantage of the kinetic energy. Change direction and you have lost any impact you had to set it to motion.
The larger the flywheel, the difficult it will be to set it to motion but similarly, it will be difficult to stop it once it starts moving.
The flywheel begins to stop when there is friction or any other form of external force.
Minimal effort can keep the flywheel moving despite the friction.
Where it works
Successful businesses have an underlying flywheel effect that helps them get only bigger.
Good things you do attract more good things.
Example - Amazon’s great customer experience attracts more users. More users make it an attractive place for sellers to do business. This in turn enables Amazon to provide better deals to its users leading to a better customer experience.
It is difficult to take off a relationship in the beginning (ofcourse after the honeymoon period).
But with enough investment of emotion, time, and energy it gets better. After that, it requires little effort to keep it flying high.
It is difficult to build good habits that will benefit you in getting healthier, wealthier, wiser.
But once you are in the groove, it takes minimal effort to keep them going while you enjoy their rewards for long periods of time.
Where it doesn’t work
The problems you solve as a parent of 1-year-olds are very different from that of a 7yo.
These are also significantly different from the ones you face when your kids reach pre-teen and teenage years.
Just because you put in a lot of effort in the initial few years, may not necessarily make parenting easier later on.
The problem statement keeps changing every couple of years.
I wrote my annual reflection post this week. You might find it valuable, it’s a bit unconventional, not setting any tangible goals, but focusing on a few experiments I want to run in 2022.
Do check it out and let me know what you think -
📂 From the archives
This week, that year -
2021 - Good Reads for a Great Year
2020 - Pearls of Wisdom -2
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Ayush & Aditi