Last week I listened to a podcast titled “Upside of Quitting” that talked about the benefits of giving up. Very counterintuitive … I mean who likes to be called a quitter?
Point being that one of the main reasons we tend to keep digging a hole for ourselves is because of sunk cost. In other words, we don’t walk away, because we don’t want to write off our efforts.
I think we can all relate. In my case, the best example is my divorce, where things like separating finances or furniture felt like cutting off my own arm.
So who doesn’t struggle with sunk cost? According to the podcast, it’s dogs and children. They are more than ready to jump onto the next shiny object in a heartbeat. Should we act just like them then?
Probably not, so the answer must lie somewhere in the middle …
In my mind, the sanity check to follow when encountering sunk cost is actually a line from Frankenstein: “You have created me, but I am your master!”
How would this work in practice? It’s not a panacea, but an awareness tool. Had I applied this very check to myself seven years ago when I was going through a divorce, I would have realized that the bond, which was created without fully understanding its purpose nor consequence, has become an ever tightening rope around my neck.
Yes, eventually I did realize it, but it just took a long, painful while. Having said that, because of this very experience I know I will do much better next time …
What helps you identify sunk cost in your life? Once you identify it, how do you deal with it?
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