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Rushing intrigues me. More specifically, why we rush.

My theory: Loss aversion.

If you're not familiar with the term and you have about 10-12 minutes to spare, check out this fantastic explanation by the Decision Lab (Consultancy based in Montreal): Loss Aversion.

In short, loss aversion is the idea that losses loom larger than gains.

So my theory is, we enter into rushing mode because we're afraid of losing something.

That something could be tangible (e.g. the opportunity to see something) or intangible (e.g. time, money, or identity).

So let's start with that theory.

Now I'd like to explore two things that happen simultaneously as a result of us entering into rushing mode.


Thing one: Imagine a continuum with process-driven on one end and outcome-driven on the other, rushing mode pushes us almost entirely into the outcome-driven end of the continuum.

When we move to this extreme on the continuum, our desire for controlling our environment increases dramatically. Often this can stretch beyond the limits of things that we actually have control over, in other words, we try to start controlling things we normally wouldn't.

Seeking more control over your environment can create a series of rapidly escalating expectations, which might set you up for a series of rapidly accumulating disappointments.

Thing two: We stop seeking quality.

What I mean by this is, we do things or make choices haphazardly.

Quality often has a cost. For example, slowing down to make a decision costs time.

Since our rushing mindset is already being driven by loss (in other words, we are already afraid of incurring some kind of cost), we might struggle to focus on quality because of the additional cost involved.


Ok, so those are two things that happen to us in rushing mode. So what?

I don't necessarily want to place a judgement on rushing. The reason it intrigues me is because it's one of those seemingly automatic modes we enter into that might have hidden costs if we don't explore them enough.

It's a paradox: Rushing is driven by a fear of loss, and rushing itself creates loss.

At the very least, a loss of focus on the process, and a loss of quality.

An intriguing question to end with: Is the value of what you're going to lose worth the price of rushing?

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