What Newton’s Three Laws Teach Us About Everyday Life

Astronaut Abby_What Newton's LawsTeach Us About Everyday Life_Header Image_2021If you’ve ever taken a physics class, you’ve likely learned about Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion. Each law is crucial to understanding how our universe works. The first states that an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, the second discusses the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration, and the third says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. These laws are essential building blocks to understanding physics, but did you know they can teach us a lot about our everyday lives as well?

I gave an example of this in Chapter 3 of my book, Dream Big!: How to Reach for Your Stars. As I wrote, “Your plan (at rest) will remain at rest unless you take actions towards your dream; your plan (in motion) will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.” This is just one way Newton’s three laws of motion can be applied to our dreams! Keep reading to learn more about what the different laws are, what they can teach us about our lives, and how we can use them to achieve our goals.

Astronaut Abby_Newton's Cradle Image_Newton's Laws of Motion_The Mars GenerationNewton’s First Law

Isaac Newton was a physicist and astronomer during the 17th century and has been widely regarded as one of the world’s most influential scientists. In his efforts to understand how our universe works, he established three laws of motion, which he published in his 1687 book, Principia.

Newton’s first law of motion says that an object at rest stays at rest and that an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. To illustrate this, let’s use a car as an example (and imagine we are in a vacuum!). If the car is stopped at a red light, it will stay stopped unless you hit the gas. Similarly, if the car is driving along the highway, it will keep moving unless you hit the breaks.

The same idea applies to your dream!

An Object at Rest

Let’s first think about the “object at rest” piece of this law. When your dream is beginning to form, or when your plan is just taking shape, it is “at rest.” It’s not going anywhere just yet; you haven’t started taking action in order to turn your dream into reality! These actions are your force, and your dream will stay at rest without them!

An Object in Motion

Once you start working towards your dream, you are setting it in motion, getting one step closer to accomplishing it every day. Now, your dream is no longer at rest, but moving!

The motion of your dream will only be deterred if an outside force comes in its path. An outside force could take countless forms, from a negative mindset and injury, to setbacks and failures. These things are inevitable (everyone experiences them throughout their journey!), but by recognizing and preparing for them, it’ll be that much easier to overcome them and put your dream back in motion.

To learn more about overcoming setbacks, check out my blog post, “GETTING BACK UP WHEN YOU’VE BEEN KNOCKED DOWN.”

What Is YOUR Force?

YOU are the force that will put your dream into motion! While other factors can play a role in your journey, it is up to you to take control of your dream and make a difference in your life. No one knows you better than yourself, and you know what steps you need to take to succeed. By focusing on this, you’ll not only be building yourself a strong foundation, but you’ll also be setting your dream into motion!

Astronaut Abby_Newton's Second Law Equation Image_Newton's Laws of Motion_The Mars GenerationNewton’s Second Law

The second of Newton’s three laws of motion is all about math! This law is commonly denoted as F = ma, meaning the force on an object is equal to its mass multiplied by the acceleration. Let’s use the car example again to understand this! Say the mass of the car is 2,000 kilograms. What force do we need to apply to the car if we want it to accelerate at 10 m/s²? All you have to do is multiply 2,000 kg by 10 m/s², and you’ll get a force of 20,000 kg * m/s²!

Believe it or not, you can apply this same mathematical principle to your dream!

The Importance of Give and Take

With all relationships, there is a certain amount of give and take in your relationship with your dream. As you work towards your dreams, you’ll likely have to give up things in order to gain other things; dreams don’t come without sacrifices. Think about your dream job, for example. Sometimes, it may work out that your dream job is located far away from where you live! This brings about the question: do you move and pursue your dream, ultimately leaving your family, friends, and home? Or do you give up the job and stay close to home?

Newton’s 2nd law of F = ma exemplifies the importance of relationships. The law talks specifically about the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration, but we can apply it to any relationship in our lives! For example, think of force as the amount of burnout feeling you have, mass as the mass of responsibilities on your plate, and acceleration is the acceleration towards your dreams.

Say you want more acceleration towards pursuing your dream, but you don’t want your feeling of burnout to increase and be overworked. In this case, you are giving more acceleration to your dreams, so you need to take away more mass, getting rid of other responsibilities on your plate. If you only increase your acceleration without decreasing your mass, your feelings of burnout will rise! There will be a higher force on you!

You can use this line of thinking to help you with time management. It’s important that you strike a balance between chasing your dreams and other activities in life. That way, the other responsibilities on your plate will be limited, and you’ll be less likely to experience burnout!

Learn even more about the importance of time management and how it relates to self care in my blog post titled “HOW TO BUILD SELF CARE INTO YOUR DAY.”

Astronaut Abby_Newton's Laws Arrows Image_Newton's Laws of Motion_The Mars GenerationNewton’s Third Law

The last of Newton’s three laws of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For this example, let’s think about astronauts onboard the International Space Station. On the ISS, astronauts are in a state of weightlessness and need to push off on the walls around them in order to move around. Let’s say in one instance, they push forward against a wall with a force of 5 kg * m/s². As a result of this, they’ll actually move backwards and float away with a force of 5 kg * m/s². That’s the equal and opposite reaction!

Pay It Forward

Newton’s third law teaches us the importance of paying it forward! On your journey towards your dream, if you are given something, you should give to someone else! This has been especially important in my own life. I am so thankful for the incredible female role models who inspired me to chase after my dream, and today, I have the privilege of giving back by being that person for other young girls! I think it is incredibly important to pay it forward so that at the end of the day, the legacy of your dreams lasts far beyond you! By putting more good and positivity into the world, you can help someone else achieve their dreams.

Give Back To Your Community

This idea of “equal and opposite reaction” also ties into the importance of giving back to your community. What is the larger impact of your dream? How can you use your passions to make the world a better place?

Share the positivity you are taking from your dream and give it back to your community! By sharing the benefits of your dream with others, you can make a real difference in the world.

For 50 ways you can give back to your community, check out my blog post “50 ACTIONS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO GIVE BACK.”

The Building Blocks For Your Dream

Now it’s time to set your plan in motion and turn your dreams into reality! Newton’s three laws of motion are building blocks for your dream, and together, they will help you build your equation for success. To learn more, be sure to check out my book, Dream Big!: How to Reach for Your Stars. In it, I share my advice on balancing your success equation, break down the importance of planning for your dream, and more!


  1. Sheila Dean says

    My Uncle was an astronaut and contributed to the development of the moon Rover for Apollo 11! He had a great mind and understood far more than we could ever know. He was a genious in physics.

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