In Creating the Impossible, I share some research into the psychology of happiness and success by positive psychologist Shawn Achor. In identifying the point at which the brain releases higher than normal amounts of endorphins and dopamine to help us complete a task, he noticed that it inevitably corresponded to the appearance of an apparent “finish line”.
In other words, when the end is in sight, we get an internally generated chemical boost which provides the extra energy needed for a sprint to the finish. In my own work, I’ve come to see that this boost doesn’t so much come from seeing an actual finish line, but rather from the hopeful thinking that real or imagined finish line engenders.
What also helps is that we inevitably simplify our priorities, losing ourselves in the energy of completion and saying an incredulous “no” to things that normally might distract us from the task at hand.
Here are a couple of questions that will help you incorporate the “finish line phenomenon” into the completion of your own list:
- What actions would you take today if you could actually see the finish line of your list or project on your list approaching?
- What would you focus on and what would you feel free to ignore if you knew that you could get it all done within the next 72 hours?
Have fun and learn heaps – you’re almost there!