It’s Okay to Give Up (The Sunk Cost Fallacy) | by Aderinto EbunOluwa | Mar, 2024

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Overcoming the sunk cost fallacy is pretty easy. After coming to the conscious knowledge that you’re engaging the bias, the next thing for you to do is:

Reframe the Decision: Shift your focus from past investments to future outcomes, and consider whether continuing the current course of action aligns with your goals and priorities.

Seek External Input: Consult with your trusted friends or advisors who can provide impartial perspectives on the situation. Doing this could give you access to insights that you hadn’t considered and help you see beyond sunk costs.

Consider Opportunity Costs: Evaluate the potential gains and losses associated with continuing the endeavour versus abandoning it. More often than not, you’ll see that the opportunity cost of persisting greatly outweighs the benefits of cutting your losses.

Set Clear Criteria: Before you embark on any project, establish specific criteria or benchmarks for success. This is helpful as you can always come back to reassess the situation based on these parameters, and if the project consistently falls short of these criteria, it may be time to consider alternatives.

Practice Self-Compassion: The important thing in my opinion is that you be kind to yourself and focus on learning from the experience rather than dwelling on past mistakes. Once you accept the fact that letting go of sunk costs is not a sign of failure but a demonstration of adaptability and resilience, you’ll be more comfortable with major more objective decisions concerning your endeavours.

The sunk cost fallacy has prevented many people from making rational and strategic decisions that prioritised their long-term well-being and success without them even realising it. It’s important to know when to give up on a failing project, relationship, or career path, to open doors for new opportunities and pave the way for growth.

So, the next time you find yourself grappling with the decision to continue or cut your losses, remember that sometimes, it’s perfectly okay to quit.

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