Have you ever been so guilty of something you cringe when people talk about it? When you’re with a group of people talking about bingeing on dessert and your stomach churns because it is your kryptonite…and you also just ate an entire chocolate cake. This is how I feel when I think about the Sunk Cost Effect.
I am an emotional guy. I am an optimistic guy. I am also a nice guy. The poster child for the sunk cost effect. The sunk cost effect: Continuing down a path simply because of the time or money you have invested into it up to that point. If it is the wrong path the best action to take is to stop. Immediately. Stop throwing good money at bad. Stop investing good time into bad. Stop investing your heart-wrenching emotions into bad. You don’t need to make it “Worth it.”
That product you’ve worked on for so long and invested so much money into but can’t get right. Cut it loose.
That employee that has been with you for so long but just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Cut them loose.
I do this heavily with projects, books and people. I keep pushing that project because “we’ve come this far.” I finish books I didn’t like two chapters in because I committed to reading it. I am consumed in thinking about the people I used to be friends with that don’t bother making time for me because we have a history.
The project isn’t going anywhere.
Put the book down and pick up one you like.
Stop reminiscing about the good days with the friend and invest in the people who care now.
History shapes the future but doesn’t ever come with it.