Let’s imagine the following situation:
Your friend recommended a book, you bought it for $20, read the first 50 pages and didn’t enjoy it.
What do you do?
Do you keep reading because you paid for it and already spent time fighting through the first pages, or do you put it aside and do something else you genuinely enjoy?
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The sad reality is that most of us chose the former over the latter.
Because we don’t enjoy incompletion. Once we start something, we want to bring it to an end. In fact, our brains hate incomplete tasks, movies, songs, etc. That’s why cliffhangers work so well in the entertainment industry.
And while we’re talking about movies, here’s one more example that might look familiar to you:
You go to the cinema and pay $50 to spend a pleasant evening with your partner. But 30 minutes into the movie, you realize that it actually sucks.
Do you get out there and chose to do something you genuinely enjoy, even if you pay another $50, or do you stay until the end, no matter how bad the movie is?
Or let’s say you bought some jeans that looked great in the store but felt very uncomfortable once you wore them outside. Do you keep them in your closet because you paid for them, or do you screw it and get a new, comfy pair?
Too often, we choose to stick it out through awful things instead of getting out there and living the life of our dreams. We expect others to value our time and don’t let us wait for appointments, but we waste hundreds of hours every year doing things we don’t enjoy.
Sometimes, we even stay in relationships or jobs that don’t nourish us anymore, just because we’ve already invested so much time into it.
But guess what?
The time you invested in a bad relationship or career is already gone. You can’t do anything about it anyway.
But you can indeed choose how to spend the next years of your life: By sticking through it, or screwing it and finding the next best option.
Stop valuing sunk costs and instead focus on opportunity costs: If 30 minutes are gone, they’re gone. Don’t spend another 10 minutes watching a lousy movie, instead focus on the next best option.
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