The size-speed illusion

Ever wonder why people die at railroad crossings?

Somewhere around 2,000 to 3,000 collisions, around 1,000 injuries, and around 250 deaths per year happen at railroad crossings. Along with many other things, those numbers were even worse in the 80’s.

It seems so simple! See train coming, get out of the way before the train crushes you. Simple, right?

The speed-size illusion make this not so simple:


Leibowitz (1985) maintained that a large object seems to be moving slower than a small object travelling at the same speed. Support has been provided for Leibowitz’s theory from studies using simple shapes on a screen. However, the reasons behind the size-speed illusion remain unknown and there is no experimental evidence that it applies to an approaching train situation. To investigate these issues, we tested observers’ relative speed estimation performance for a train and a car approaching at a range of speeds and distances, in a simulated environment. The data show that participants significantly underestimated the speed of the train, compared to the car. 

That’s from a 2013 paper on the speed-size illusion and railway crossings.

The bigger it is, the slower it appears to be moving.

That applies to the future too.

The future is this massive thing that is steadily approaching you at the rate of 1 day per day, 1 year per year. That doesn’t seem fast until you look away for what seems like a moment and then BAM! that event that seemed so far away is right on top of you.

BAM! You’re up late the night before a deadline.

BAM! You’re cranking up velocity to try to hit an important milestone.

Most people tackle the long, slow work of specializing their services when they’ve gotten tired of their business stagnating. That’s not ideal. It’s kind of like jumping off the train tracks at the very last moment before the train passes by, without much margin for safety.

I hope you’ll consider specializing your services starting now, well before your business feels stagnated or stuck.

I’ve baked the most reliable, low-risk way to specialize your services into a course: https://philipmorganconsulting.com/positioning-course/

 

Talk to you soon,
-P

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