Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Empty Glass Phenomenon

Through my extensive travel in the past 2 years, I have come to notice a commonality in the world of food service.

Try this the next time you go out to eat.

> Sit at the bar
> Order a beer
> Drink half of it
> Try to get the servers' attention (only through body language and eye contact)
> Finish the beer and count how many seconds your server comes to your service.

My point..... The empty glass is a far greater motivator than an eager server.


Empty glass = another full glass of XXX = larger bill = bigger tip

Yes, it is that simple. Our primal instincts are motivated by money, not by making people happy.

At a company I used to work for, I had a co-worker who called me "root cause Matt". I mentored and trained many people there, and I ended up spending a lot of time challenging people on the "root cause" of any issue.

The "root cause" has always been my key motivator, and the thing which has distinguished me from the competition.

What does this have to do with running?

Training. What is the root cause to success or failure in races?

Training. But not the formula of training. I have come to believe that there is no such thing as junk training/miles.

In the bike mechanic world, there is a saying "bad grease is better than no grease"

Well, "junk miles are better than no miles".

And that is what I have been lacking for the last year and a half. Not enough miles.

The restaurant server who ensures who is always focused on an empty glass, is the runner who always worries about "not enough miles"

As dumb as that sounds, I think there is some truth to that.

This is why I finally got my mileage up to 40 last week.


SteveQ said...

I recently said that the only good workout is the one you actually do, so we're on the same page there.

Our primal instincts have nothing to do with money, which is a cultural construct, but I know what you mean.

Servers tend to run on autopilot. They've learned "when there's an empty glass, fill it." They're conditioned to look for an empty glass.

Carilyn said...

I think you and Steve might both like Iron War by Matt Fitzgerald. After following your blogs for awhile, I think y'all might really like the "deconstruction" of both athletes' training and psychology.

And yeah for junk miles! Often, those are the only kind I get :)

Runnin-From-The-Law said...

All this empty glass talk reminds me that someone still owes me some beer for some fabulous legal advice that was once given.

Jordan Hanlon said...

Interesting point of view, I think that "junk miles" are definitely better than nothing. It is interesting to hear how people train for ultras it varies so much from person to person. Let me know if you ever find the "root cause."

Also nice work at Sawtooth this past year, it was brutal with the heat. A lot of people dropped.