I have come to realise that when considering a decision to quit, most people make decisions based on the costs they’ve sunk rather than the future negative or positive value. The more one has sunk, the more committed they are, which would lead to nothing but more haemorrhaging of resources on a trip leading nowhere.

This cognitive error has got people trapped in situations they’re better off abandoning immediately, or should have let go of ages ago. Being trapped in such situations does nothing but prevent one from spending time and resources on things that would lead to better outcomes. One thus ends up losing on the opportunity cost as well. Life is forward moving, it’s not backward moving, so we ought not to ever let sunk cost be the justification for sticking at anything for it is a fallacy.

I know that many of us have trucks leading nowhere in life, one that makes us feel as though we’ve spent or invested so much in it that even though it makes us unhappy or miserable, we keep find ourselves investing more, while unable to jump ship. It could be anything, from a career, to a business, a relationship , a course, a project etc.

The truth is that, the longer we wait to quit, the more we invest, and the more we invest, the more difficult it becomes to make the decisions to quit, and before we know it, we’re either trapped, drained or both.

When it’s clear that the expected future value of anything is negative, a rational mind should be able to cut the losses no matter how much resources we’ve invested in an attempt to achieve our goals. Unfortunately, the decision to stay is hardly ever made from a rational point of view, rather, a scarcity point of view.

Besides the sunk cost fallacy, another thing that makes us hold on to things we ought to let go is that we hardly ever define our deal breakers from the beginning. Therefore, along the journey, once we find ourselves knee deep in the mud, encountering several uncomfortable unwanted happenings, we hold on because we’re already in it, and the worst time to make a decision about quitting is while we’re in it.

Before starting anything, it is imperative to outline the deal breakers, and possible corrective actions, such that once there’s a deviation from the expectations, the next course of action is crystal clear.

In every engagement, define your deal breakers just as much as you would define your expectations, and most importantly, always think about the future positive or negative value.

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