The Inertia Obstacle

Posted on by Larry

When I was young, I loved beta-testing software. Exploring what it could do, learning new features and – joy of joys! – finding a bug.

Now, meh…

It’s not that I don’t like learning new things. I truly enjoy testing and reviewing new products. Exploring new features. Discovering new technologies.

But, golly, it’s hard to get started learning something new. It came to me this morning that I have an “Inertia Obstacle.” And, I suspect I’m not alone.

Whenever any of us faces the challenge of learning something new – or teaching someone else something new – our biggest challenge is not the product or the instruction, but overcoming the resistance to learning something new.

I call this the “Inertia Obstacle.”

NOTE: This inertia especially extends to people we are teaching. Just because they NEED to learn it does not mean they WANT to learn it.

We’ve heard the excuses:

The new technique may, in fact, be faster, easier, better, cheaper – all good things – yet our need to learn something new might still fail because we haven’t overcome this resistance to change.

We know we need to learn this new thing – but we just aren’t sufficiently motivated.


If our goal is to change a behavior, we need to create a compelling reason for that change. What I’ve learned is that what’s compelling for each of us varies.

In most non-life-threatening situations, there’s no universal compelling reason helping to overcome this inertia. But it is important for us to realize that learning anything new will be impossible until we find a way to overcome this inertia and get started.

In my own life, when I’m confronted with learning something new, the hard part isn’t the learning, it’s the getting started to learn. DaVinci Resolve is an excellent personal example. I have dabbled at the edges of it for years. Done some training in it. Written articles about it. But I keep dragging my feet on really getting into the program and deeply learning it.

It’s excellent software. Made by a reputable company. Many, many others are using it. It probably does things I can’t do any other way. But… well, my current tools are good enough for my work.

Sigh. There’s this rock in my road.


How do we overcome obstacles? If we are dealing with teaching others, sales people have a technique called “find the pain points.” Find where someone’s current workflow is causing problems, then show how the new technology can fix it.

Dale Carnegie summarized this best almost 90 years ago with his acronym: “WII-FM.” Everyone that we are trying to motivate – whether in training, a persuasive presentation, or video – is asking: “What’s In It For Me?”

There’s always a huge reluctance to change because “the old way got us this far.” Reasons that seem good and obvious to us, may not be compelling to others. We need to examine what’s the holdup. Or, perhaps more positively, what we need to do to make getting started worthwhile.

For myself, it’s setting a deadline. Deadlines don’t always work, but they tend to be compelling – especially when writing a weekly newsletter.

Our task, then, is not just to focus on what’s new and cool and exciting, but to focus on how to overcome this inertia obstacle and get excited about learning something new.

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19 Responses to The Inertia Obstacle

  1. James Horn says:

    I too felt the same “ inertia obstacle”, to learn Davinci. But I was having issues with Premiere Pro, and bit the bullet, I needed to change. And this is tough, no doubt about it, but gritted my teeth and went ahead. Sometimes I think maybe I should’ve been more resilient, and stuck with pro. But when your 76 new challenges keep the noodle working!

  2. Great overview Larry.

    I struggle with these issues daily (both professionally and creatively). And let’s face it, the speed of digital technologies to market, data privacy rules and security, cloud computational advancements and A.I./ML, has only made things more difficult and painful for us artist – especially as we age! I cheer and blame Claude Shannon, Adrian Ettlinger, Lucasfilm and Soundstream for some of that, but I am sure there is more blame to go around!

    Last year, I did a complete overhaul of my audio recording studio because most of gear (hardware and software) was ~ 15 years old and I just got tired of patching things and running into interoperability issues that I could not take advantage of. Am I happier today with these upgrades, “yes” …but as you articulated so well, getting started is/was hard and continues to be a bit like pushing water uphill these days. Which is exactly the kind of inertia obstacle thinking that got into me into this 15-year problem in the first place!

    As a musician, I also often find myself struggling with these questions: do I want to review a new API, plugin, or a hot 3rd party workflow, or do I just want to play guitar 😊

    So, today, I live by a 2 simple rules: let the creative ideas drive the upgrade need and make sure that falls within < 5-year. I chose my tech upgrade schedule to be < 5 years because that will at least provide some comfort that I can stay abreast (shall I say compatible) with new technology developments and not feel like an old analog dinosaur trying to adopt/adapt to new NLE or DAW advancements.

  3. mark suszko says:

    You eat the elephant one bite at a time. So start the DaVinci journey with the very simplest projects first. Getting one done quickly is very important psychologically. I understand it has a basic mode for quick cuts: start there with an import, simple trimming and adding a title. Keep it short, a thirty second spot. Once you’ve done that, go back and do the same job in the main editing mode. Do it again, same commercial. Add a color correction node. Do some audio processing. Upgrade the graphics. Try something new with each pass.

    When I had to suddenly train someone on Premiere, it felt challenging: they had never edited before, and Premiere is not my first language, so to speak, I an an FCP guy since System Seven. I told him we were learning together, and that there are multiple ways to get something done. We tried each method for the desired result until he found a method he liked and understood best, and I had him doing simple cuts and transitions and audio levels in thirty minutes, without strain.

    I had spent a couple of years getting our entire shop standardized and trained on FCP, and we were all in sych that way, when the boss hired an old friend who only worked in Premiere and After Effects. Instead of paying him to take some catch-up training, she made the rest of us switch to Adobe. The next year was chaotic as the learning curve slowed down the entire shop. I was unhappy because I found Premiere less intuitive and fun. Anyway, the guy they changed everything to please left after just two years and then the shop split into half FCP, half Adobe, each person using their preferred tools. After I retired I heard that the shop went back to all FCP because of hardware problems on Adobe and the fact they didn’t like paying the subscriptions.

  4. Clayton Moore says:

    There are now so many choices and within each choice even more information, it can feel overwhelming sometimes. Also, how eager I am to learn new things in a fundamental way
    is not the same now as it was when I was a couple decades younger ___ there I said it.. sigh.

    For me though its seeing it as an adventure and away to keep mentally sharp AND have some fun. So I take it in chucks and small bites and build into its that way.

    • Larry Jordan says:


      I totally understand that sense of adventure. Exploring the unknown.

      And I agree with you and other writers. Take it in small chunks and celebrate small successes.


  5. Jeffrey says:

    Great points and I only started in Resolve to edit a project shot in braw which seemingly didn’t make the best sense for me to edit in Final Cut. I find DaVinci labyrinthine but generally in a good way. Compound clips since maybe version 17 and on latest version of 18 break audio. Solution bounce to new track and use that track in export or when ready for export decompose audio tracks in place while preserving existing data. Magic Mask and relight it seems don’t hold the track so some suggest putting them in compound clips and applying any transforms that way. I tend to just render in place the clip once I’ve got it the way I want it. Still figuring out best practices for this. Feels like DaVinci’s Take Selector is just not very useful compared to the elegance and efficiency of FCP’s auditions. But what I like about Resolve is that anything feels possible from creating effects in Fusion to color grading and fixing sound, many of which in FCP would need to spend hundreds on plugins an hope they all work with the latest FCP update, or have to pay so much for creative cloud and round trip a bunch, which DaVinci seems to help me avoid. They offer good trainings at BlackMagic’s site and it seems since maybe the last year or two there is a vibrant online community of forums and YouTube creators where you can figure out how to do whatever you need in the software whereas when I looked at it several years ago it felt like it didn’t have the “community support” element of Premiere or FCP.

  6. Roger says:


    Your article resonated with me. It’s not just about learning a new editing program for me but also about tackling another project I haven’t fully committed to yet. I recently decided to commit, but I still haven’t made progress.

    Your point about overcoming inertia and the mental barrier to starting is spot on. It made me reflect on how we manage our limited time and prioritize tasks. Sometimes, we waste time worrying about how to spend it rather than just diving in.

    Additionally, there’s the question of the ultimate value of starting something new versus nurturing existing projects already showing positive results. Balancing the excitement of new ventures with the potential rewards of developing current ones is a constant challenge.

  7. Steven J Morris says:

    I’ve been in video/media production since the 80’s. I’ve seen some change. I’ve also not been full time or in depth. Worked on lots of different things not related to video. Somewhere around the conversation for 8K video I stopped.

    I don’t think it’s change inertia that is the real issue. It is change **fatigue**. Philippe Neron has a healthy approach. Focus on the creative needs, not so much the creative toys. There is a certain mental sickness that modern society has about the need for progress. Especially our technology fetish. Does anyone really need to shoot in 12K and deliver in 8K? How does that make the world a better place?

    If it’s the stories we tell that are important, how about leaving some oil and minerals in the ground instead of extracting them to build Apple’s latest doodad that really doesn’t make life any better? When do we say “enough is enough!” I don’t have an answer, but I feel that it is important for people take more time to question why it has to be this way. Instead of blindly following along.

    • Larry says:


      An EXCELLENT comment. How much are we seeing “change for change sake,” and how much change is necessary?

      I’ve never considered this “fatigue,” but you make an excellent point. Thanks!


      • Steven J Morris says:

        Never thought of it as fatigue myself until reading this article. I’d say it’s a combination of your inertia my my fatigue that gets to all of us.

        I used to love checking out the new hardware and software, but how many camera apps can I download on my phone? I’d love to learn Resolve, but I don’t edit enough to get to know FCP as I would like. And every update/grade ads something new while changing something I’m just getting used to. I’ve crossed 60 decades on the planet. Maybe the younger whipper snappers can keep up. They were born into it.

        Thanks for all your hard work Larry. I always enjoy your articles and videos. I can’t imagine you trying to keep up with 3 editors in addition to all the other stuff you review.

    • YES!!! Change **fatigue** is the real issue. And so many times it is change for change sake. Also, without these (often) unnecessary tech upgrades & new gear, those companies could not make as much money. And as we know, that drive for money is often at the root of fast pace changes. Our challenge is to find the balance. When I can turn the “head knowledge” into “experience knowledge”, it helps. I tried a simple approach to learning my new Sound Devices multi track audio recorder. I recorded a very easy task & during editing I experienced the incredible value in using this new equipment. That was the “Experience Inertia” I needed.

  8. Ben Friesen says:

    Thanks, Larry, and everyone. Jordan Peterson also addresses motivation head on when he says we should find something we can do and do it. Just do something. Motivation doesn’t lead. When waiting around for it to show up, it rarely does (contrary to popular opinion of those who get stuff done). It comes after we start. So as others have said above, find something you can do, start doing it, no matter how small it seems, and the rest will begin to unfold itself. The momentum will build and motivation will join up too.

  9. Hi Larry,
    from a random guy on reddit:

    1y ago
    Final Cut Pro X is probably one of the most simple NLEs to learn in comparison with DaVinci Resolve, Avid, or Adobe Premiere which both have significantly steeper learning curves.[sic]

    What do you think? I have Premiere Pro on 3 computers with different chips and OSs
    and several different versions and years. How to reconcile these? This has gotten very steep since FCP 7.

    • Larry says:


      I agree that, of the three, FCP (X) is the easiest to learn – and the fastest.

      Different versions of Premiere are no different than the different versions of FCP 7 (7, 6, 5, HD, 4, 2, 1.2 and 1, if I remember correctly). All software needs to be upgraded. The big issue is that Premiere converted to subscriptions several years ago, meaning that you need an active subscription to use the software. This is not true for either FCP (X) or Resolve. Avid supports both out-right purchase and subscriptions.

      The question you need to ask yourself is: what kind of editing do I need to do and what computer gear do I have to use for that editing. The answers to those questions will help determine what software to use.


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