Last week I had the chance to participate in a running contest. It was the 7hillsrun (it was in the Netherlands, so actually called ‘Zevenheuvelenloop’), which was 15km (around 9,3 miles). As a starter runner I did this in around an hour and 25 minutes.

As you might all expect, this is a long time to run. The only thing you are doing for more than an hour long is setting your one foot before the other and yes, that gets boring. Especially when I was training. I live in the north of the Netherlands and although we have a crowded country, that is just a place where nobody lives. Boring to run, for an hour I only saw one or two people on the street. Strange and again, boring.

Now, the 7hillsrun has over 30 thousand participants. That is just the opposite of what I was practising! And that hour and a half were over really fast. In some sort of way, the group process has such a big effect on people that your perception of time is completely different than when you are without a group. Based on this experience, I am making 6 assumptions on group processes.

3 reasons why doing something with a group goes faster (time-wise)

  1. You talk. Talking is one of the most time consuming (without noticing) that exists. Just practise it, while you are reading this. Think of the sentence ‘I went running yesterday’. How fast was that? Alright, now think of what would happen if you said this sentence out loud in front of a group. This will be something like: ‘I went running yesterday.’ ‘Oh really, where?’ ‘Over there and there.’ ‘Nice! For how long?’ ‘For around an hour.’ ‘That is pretty long, are you training for something?’ Etc. This one sentence will bring you around 5 minutes further, without even noticing. Talking is really time consuming. An advantage or disadvantage? Well, if it makes the time go faster..
  2. Unexpected things happen! When I was running, there was a guy in front of me (who was named ‘Thijs’) and he got support from somebody (i.e. ‘Come on Thijs!’) and all of the sudden the whole audience was supporting Thijs, just because they knew his name. Really funny and I had fun for around 5 minutes from it.
  3. Groups give thinking material. For instance, I was running behind somebody who had a Latin sentence on his shirt. As I had Latin at high school, I tried to translate it and was wondering about what it meant. Than I tried to think of more sentences which mean the same thing, just because I thought the sentence was ugly. This is not only the case at running, but at any group process. Let’s say you are at the coffee machine and you hear somebody say something to one another, you can wander of for hours thinking about what the person said, something you would have never came up with yourself!

‘What is in this for me?’ you ask me? I understand, at StudySuccessful you are not looking for time consuming activities, but ways to save time and to create more free time for yourself. But the things I am talking about is not something you should do when you are passionatly working on a project you love, but at mind-numbing activities (like running for instance). If you can make these activities go faster in any way by using the power of the group, this would be great right?

Of course, the group has more to offer, I have experienced 3 more things about the group process when running the 15 kilometers.

3 reasons why doing something with the group is way more effective

  1. You get a lot of support from the group. I saw somebody passing a girl who was clearly going to give up. He said to the girl: ‘Come on, get your head up and look in front of you, only 20 more minutes left, you can do it.’ and he ran on. And what happened? The girl got her head up and ran on. She actually got some great support from the group and she continued her race!
  2. There is a lot of inspiration from the group. I already spoke about the Latin sentence, but there is more. I saw groups of people running, actual teams. That inspired me to think about a team to start next year, maybe we can make some shirts and support each other through the training process? And besides all of this, the group process I experienced during this run inspired me to write these thousand words!
  3. Groups are plain fun. Remember signing songs when you were walking in the forest with your class in elementary school? Remember the great camps you had at high school? All fun, because of a group. When Thijs (see above) was supported by the crowd, a couple of people from the group of runners (including me) were joining them. We had fun about Thijs the next 20 minutes of the race. Groups can make anything fun.

In conclusion, groups are great for several reasons. Whether you are busy with a mind-numbing activity or need effectivity, you can always count on the group. If you can be with like-minded people who have the same goal, why would you be alone? Why would you force yourself in solitude when there are so many people doing the same thing as you.

Enjoy the group process and of course, let me know your thoughts about this! Do you have a positive experience with this group process? Or do you completely disagree with me? Let me know in the comments!

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