I believe the sunk cost fallacy is the most common bias infesting a large portion of the human race. We know that it leads to poor investments, unfulfilling career and taxing relationships. But we are not good at cutting our losses and moving forward.
Wastage is Bad?
The reason for this is the contradictory belief inculcated in us since childhood that – We should not waste anything. Wastage is bad behavior.
Thus even if we get to know that we have made a not-so-good decision with our career or investment or project, etc., it’s difficult for us to abandon and move on. It feels like we’ll be wasting the time or money invested in it so far. So we keep investing more & thus losing more.
Because of our loss aversion and tendency of valuing what we own more than their actual worth, we fail to let go of a bad investment or a not-so-rewarding job or project.
The solution is to ask the question, if I’ve to do it afresh, will I do it? If NO is the answer, then just get out of it.
Winners don’t Quit?
Another myth which has been ingrained deeply in our conscience is – Winners don’t Quit.
This statement is a very powerful motivator to generate conscientiousness. But it’s an over simplified truth. In fact, winners quit all the time. Yes, they don’t quit because they don’t work, they quit when the project doesn’t work as they expected. They know how to cut losses.
To win a big war you have to let go of the urge of winning every battle. We need to choose our battles wisely. If by mistake we get into a wrong battle, we need to turn away and choose to look into a better direction.
Hard Work Pays Off?
The most common teaching across all cultures is Hard work pays off. No doubt it does. But to whom? And How much?
What it also does is, create a strong urge of constantly keeping oneself busy to avoid the guilt of not working hard enough. This in turn leads to shallow work which drains out our energy and leads to no growth. We feel stretched in a thousand directions with negligible progress in any. Better path to productivity is being very selective in what we do. Do less, do better. Learn to say no to all things which are not fitting into your bigger purpose.
Sometimes you have to let things go so there’s room for better things to come into your life.