Perhaps it was some misguided means of overcompensation, an unconscious need to exert control over our situation.
You not only have to judge time, but magnitude; overcompensation is ruinous, too.
overcompensation o·ver·com·pen·sa·tion (ō'vər-kŏm'pən-sā'shən)
Excessive compensation, especially the exertion of effort beyond what is needed to compensate for a physical or psychological characteristic or defect.
An extreme neurotic striving for power or prestige because of a feeling of inferiority.