As I go to merge onto a highway at 100kms/h, I often find myself stuck behind someone who has decided that the only safe way to merge onto a high speed section of road is to slow down considerably.
It’s causes traffic chaos, and is extremely dangerous.
Sometimes, slowing ride down isn’t the safest option at all – in fact, sometimes it’s the worst possible thing you can do.
The problem is that it feels like a safer option. After all, if we’re going more slowly then surely less can go wrong if we hit a bump.
But in truth we lose a huge amount of momentum and leave ourselves vulnerable to being made roadkill.
It’s far harder to get going once you’ve slowed down than it is to keep going fast when you already are.
This is both a truth of physics and a truth of psychology.
The energy required to get the enormous mass of your life headed in a direction that you’ve actually chosen is huge. But once you’re going at speed, you can course correct and adjust far more easily than if you slam on the brakes every few minutes because you’re starting to get the heeby-jeebies.
The reason we slow down, most often, is because we get scared that we’re going too fast, doing to much, and that we’ll lose control or burn out.
But here’s my question: how often has that actually happened to you?
Controlled by Irrational Fear
There are certainly cases of burnout, and we’re right to be conscious of the possibility.
But most of us aren’t even coming close to the kind of pathological commitment to something that would be required to reach burnout.
In truth, we’re letting the fear of something that probably won’t happen control our decision making to avoid going all in.
Here’s my theory why: if we avoid fully committing to something and it doesn’t work, we can always just tell ourselves that it’s because we didn’t try hard enough, not because we sucked or the idea wasn’t very good in the first place.
More than being afraid of burnout, we’re actually afraid of going all-in on something and it not working out as we’d hoped.
As A Result…
As a result, many of us slow down before merging onto the highway, and end up crawling along the shoulder of the road because we never really develop the momentum we need.
If you want to get on the highway, you’ve got to hit the accelerator.