A crowd of people are milling around in the lobby prior to the beginning of a play. Some are standing still, some are circulating to visit friends or find refreshments, others are just randomly strolling to stretch their legs. Then, the bell rings to state that the audience has five minutes before the second half of the play is to begin. At that moment, the crowd now has a preferred direction of motion, out of the lobby (high potential) to their seats (low potential). No one person in the crowd instantaneously pops into his seat, everyone begins to drift in the "circuit's" prescribed direction of flow. Each person's drift velocity is small, although the instantaneous result of the bell is that seats start filling up in preparation for the curtain's rising.
no matter which slope a skier chooses, his loss of PE is the same. Under general usage, more skiers will choose the less difficult slope [path of least resistance]; only the more advanced skiers will choose a more challenging slope [path of higher resistance].