Ok, for a long time I never understood why elite athletes when coming to the end of their race would slow down considerably on approach to the finishing line. Yes, I know exhaustion plays a part but sometimes, they just don’t look exhausted. I understand now that it is because there are financial incentives for breaking new records and so they will only exert themselves to break the record needed to trigger the next financial bonus. Didn’t know that. Perhaps I’m the true slow one here. It does seem a little sad and calculated, but hey ho, some of these athletes struggle with supporting their grueling training costs and can only dream of an income such as Usain Bolt or Mo Farah.
But I’ve watched little children at school sports day (mine included), sprint, and then slow down on the approach to the finishing line. Why? When they’re encouraged sprint to the very end? It’s not always to do with being out of breath.
I think there is something strange that happens to all of us to some degree, at every ‘finishing line’, whether it’s on a track or in the office or simply crossing the road.
Think about a time when you’ve tried to cross a road with haste, dashing ahead of a fast oncoming car – remember, you were the chancer, so vantage-point wise, you were on the back foot because you could have waited for the ideal time to cross – but instead of speeding across you marginally slow down in its path? What is this behaviour? Daring? Defiance?
Ok, so now let’s take the office or working from home. You have a deadline and you’re almost there. Personally, I’m not often in this position. For me, most times it’s the reverse; staring at a blank sheet or a computer screen at the eleventh hour. Then somehow I pull it out of the hat.
Anyway, this project is going well. You have very little to do to tie it up, but whoa! What do you do? You slow down. Indulge in the fact that it’s going well. It doesn’t get finished when it should. Instead, it gets finished in the eleventh hour.
You hear a conversation on the radio. The broadcaster tells the caller he has a minute to put his point across. Yes, of course, there are nerves at play, but what does the caller do…?
Does anyone know what’s going on here?