Is sunk cost fallacy keeping you from happiness?
Firstly we should probably talk about what sunk cost fallacy actually is.
According to the Oxford Dictionary it’s ‘the phenomenon whereby a person is reluctant to abandon a strategy or course of action because they have invested heavily in it, even when it is clear that abandonment would be more beneficial.’
And it can HUGELY impact the decisions you make AND your happiness.
In SO many areas of life.
Right now with everything feeling so tumultuous I’m seeing sunk cost fallacy clouding decisions and causing lots of unnecessary pain for people.
So let’s have a chat about it.
When something isn’t working for you anymore but you’ve invested a tonne of time, effort, money, emotion and energy it’s VERY hard to let go of.
Particularly because there are SO many stories that may need to be challenged around what those decisions mean.
So today I’m offering up a little reframe for you in an attempt to help you release some of the tension you might be feeling right now.
If you’ve been with me a while you’ll already know I don’t subscribe to the rubbish around starting a business purely to escape the big bad 9-5.
I don’t subscribe to the idea you should stay in something because you’ve been in it a long time. Business, careers, relationships, friendships. Life is all about reassessing and checking in with how you feel and course correcting.
I don’t subscribe to the idea that having a job means you’re less successful than anyone else.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that you can’t do multiple things.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that you can’t have both a job and a business…in fact that’s when I’ve been at my happiest. (hello…enneagram 6 here i’m all about the safety and security!!)
I don’t subscribe to the notion that you can’t change your mind!
I think it’s so dangerous to intentionally cause someone to believe there’s something ‘wrong’ with them if their version of success and happiness doesn’t fit a certain mold just to sell your product.
And unfortunately that’s the world we live in right now be it business, relationships, weight loss, parenting, health, spirituality.
People knowingly creating a belief of ‘if i’m not this, or don’t have that then I’m not good enough’ and attaching things to your identity that should be nowhere near it!
There’s a lot of fear mongering, shame and guilt thrown into a lot of marketing online at the moment.
It’s causing people to compare themselves, attach a weight, a revenue number or audience size to how valuable you are as a person. I see it as the next epidemic and I’m glad I’m starting to see a lot of companies making a stand against it!
And I’m loving the rise and rise of people taking wellness seriously but there’s definitely a lot of work to be done.
It hurts my soul to see so many people feeling this way about themselves when they’re doing things countless other people wouldn’t have the guts to do.
Your own safety and happiness should come first in everything. Screw what anyone else thinks or tries to tell you you should do, have or be.
It hugely grinds my gears so I think we need to debunk some myths and shift some perspectives.
There is a very real mental health crisis going on at the moment which I believe is being compounded by a lot of the online messaging that we’re given in order to keep us buying.
I’m always telling my clients to do what makes them happy and feel secure and out of scarcity.
If that means a full time, part time or contract job while you’re growing your business then awesome.
If that means realising the career you thought you’d love isn’t aligning with you anymore and looking for a total change, awesome.
If it’s a relationship or a friendship and you’ve realised it’s not right anymore.
Sunk cost fallacy can affect us across all areas of our lives in one way shape or form.
So where in your life right now are you not making a decision you want to because of sunk cost fallacy?
The last 2.5 years have been bananas!
It makes perfect sense if you’re tired or have re-evaluated your priorities.
What isn’t fitting anymore?
Where are you clinging onto something because you’ve invested time, energy, money, effort and emotion into it?
What is the story being that?
What are you telling yourself is true?
What is the reason outside of ‘i’ve spent so much time, energy, effort and emotion’. What else is there for you?
What does the change give you and what does it take away?
Does it give you breathing space? Does it give you more time? Does it take away anxiety?
These are important questions to ask yourself.
I’m a big believer that if something isn’t making you happy anymore that it needs to change.
Even if it takes a little time. I’ve been slowly shifting things up in my own business in my own pivot for a while. It can take time but you must be honest with yourself when your happiness is at stake.
So pay attention to the stories and grab your journal. Are they true?
A few examples might be getting a job, part time or full time doesn’t mean you have to stop building your business.
Changing your niche, ideal client, products, anything about your business or changing your career doesn’t mean you’ve failed in any way.
Taking the time to figure out what you want doesn’t mean you aren’t successful.
There are so many ways to shift your perspective on making a change and doing the right thing for you.
Could you look at it as brave or courageous?
Could you see it as what it is….just being honest with yourself and continuing to pursue your own happiness?
It certainly doesn’t mean you’re less than anyone else in any way.
People are having to make hard decisions during the current climate. Particularly here in the UK with the insane amount of change and uncertainty.
With things feeling like they’re changing by the minute, no wonder there’s heightened stress and anxiety.
Lean on all your tools. You know the ones, the ones I’m talking about alllll the time.
Lean boldly into the decisions that are right for YOU. No one can tell you what those are, everyone’s situation is different, there is no one size fits all.
If you’ve been ignoring a niggle or a pull to do something and have held yourself back because of sunk cost fallacy as yourself if it’s really coming from you, or your fear of judgement from other people.
You set your own rules.
Hang in there tiger, you’ve got this!
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
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© 2023 Fran Excell. Success mindset mentor for entrepreneurs & executives.