The Sunk Cost Fallacy And You

The Sunk Cost Fallacy And You

When holding on is more harmful than helpful, it's time to say goodbye.
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Like any Millennial with a phone and steady access to wifi, I spend a lot of time on the internet, and in my 19 years, I've read a lot of relationship advice blogs in an attempt to feel like I have my life together. One of these blogs is Captain Awkward. It was there that I discovered something called the "sunk cost fallacy."

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You're looking to clean out your closet. In it, you find a shirt you haven't worn in ten months. Man, this is awful, you think, why did I buy this? But you remember that you dropped $30 on this shirt, and so you reluctantly put it back in your closet with empty promises to wear it sometime, knowing in your deepest heart that that shirt is never coming out of that closet again.

Or, the most common question on aforementioned relationship advice blogs, which, with little variation, goes a bit like this: "My boyfriend and I have been together for a long time, but he doesn't respect me. He never contributes to household maintenance/plays video games all day/leaves broken glass on the kitchen floor because cleaning is a societal expectation he disagrees with/has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and I'm not happy in this relationship anymore. But we've been together so long and I love him. What can I do to fix myself so that he respects me?"

The answer is almost always "Sweetheart, you can't. This guy is an actual hornet's nest in human form. It's time to let go." Followed by many, many comments by the letter writer defending their significant other and insisting something can be done.

These are examples of the sunk cost fallacy. In economics, "sunk costs" refer to payments or investments which can never be recovered. Businesses try not to take sunk costs into account when considering the future of the business, because it's even more harmful, economically speaking, to continue sinking cash into something that's going to flop. But humans are actually biologically inclined to avoid losses at all costs, which creates situations like cluttered closets of clothes you'll never wear or, more seriously, domestic violence victims remaining with their abuser because they've already spent one or two or ten years of their lives with them and they don't want it to be "worthless."

Listen. We only have one life. The sunk cost is an attractive fallacy, but one that ultimately traps us in routines we hate because we fear that we've "wasted" our time. There's a reason why "better late than never" is such a ubiquitous saying. Why fight to be happy later when you can be happy now: namely, by dropping the sunk cost fallacy and changing your life tomorrow, or today?

I'm not advocating wastefulness here, but mindfulness of what will make you happy in the long run. Are you hesitating to change your college degree, even though you hate it because you already sunk a year into it? Go to the guidance office tomorrow and see what sort of options you have anyway. Your two-year relationship is making you unhappy and multiple attempts to work it out have failed? Get out of there and find some new opportunities for love. Do you have a shirt in the closet you've been dying to get rid of for the last six months? Make some room for that rockin' new sundress, girl! Goodwill all the way.

There are things in life worth fighting for, but there comes a time where hanging onto the old is getting in the way of our own future happiness. Beat the sunk cost fallacy, and learn how to say goodbye.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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9 Ways To Have Fun While NOT Partying On The Weekend In Bloomington

Parties can be fun, but you don't have to spend all of your weekends going to them. Here are 9 of my favorite ways to branch out!
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I know what you are thinking: “What a lame article.” Everyone loves a good party, but sometimes it is good to branch out and try new things. Here is a list of my favorite things to do on the weekend while still staying out of trouble.

1. Mini Golf

Every time I’m in the mall I pass by this new glow-in-the-dark Mini Golf place. It looked pretty neat and it’s a great activity to do with your friends. Whether you are good at sports or not, you are guaranteed to have fun. I mean who could pass up mini golf? (Not to mention glow-in-the-dark mini golf??)

2. Anthony’s Pets

The classic go-to in Bloomington. Hit up Anthony’s Pets for a fun time with puppies. Nobody with a heart can resist puppy love. (They have other animals too!!)

3. Movie night

Great for a night in with your friends or if you want to switch things up and go to the movies, you can do that too! There are plenty of great movies out right now and coming up! Some of those include Black Panther, Jumanji, and The Greatest Showman.

4. Hiking & Staying in a Cabin

Some of my favorite nights are nights we have spent at my friend’s cabin. Hiking and staying in Brown County is an awesome activity to get into when there is not much happening around campus. Bring cards and your speaker and it’s bound to be fun.

5. Sober for a pair

Here’s an unusual idea. If you are involved in Greek Life on campus, offer to sober monitor for one of your house’s socials. You get the fun of going to the party, but don’t feel obligated to drink. It’s the best of both worlds when you are just not feeling it.

6. Support your favorite IU team

There are always games going on the weekends. Tickets are super cheap or admission is free for a lot of sports. Some of the best games are ones you get to go to with a bunch of your friends. Leaving your dorm or apartment is fun for a change of scenery, especially when so many people go to these games. Get out there and see what’s happening! I personally love the basketball games.

7. Escape Room

There is a new Escape Room experience in Bloomington called Locked Up. It is fun for all ages and great for when you have guests! Trying new things is really fun and this is a great bonding experience for people looking to take big groups. I did one in Indy, and it ends up being something you talk about all the time. Plus they are currently running a promo for Valentines Day! Use the code ‘Vday2018’ when you checkout.

8. The Comedy Attic

This is a great one for the older crowds. With different shows every weekend, it is so much fun to go and eat dinner with your friends while you get some good laughs in. People love the entertainment. They also have kid-friendly shows as well!

9. Bowling at the IMU

Bowling is an awesome activity for when your group just can’t decide on what to do. Everyone loves a good competition. It’s super cheap for students to go and there are other games to do once you are in!

Cover Image Credit: Hannah George

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5 Problems You Have If You're A Super Messy Person

You might as well just embrace who you are.
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Being a messy person comes with its struggles, laziness topping off the list.

It is especially difficult to keep tidy in college, where you're living on your own or with a roommate, and you don’t have your parents to tell you to go clean up your room or do chores. If you've ever left a trail of crumbs accidentally letting everyone you live with know where you've been, you understand that with great messiness comes great burden. Neat freaks always think that they have it the worst, but here are five problems that prove that being messy is no walk in the park either.

1. You never know where any of your things are.

The mess that you've created has no sense of structure. Nothing makes sense about where you've thrown your things other than that it was the closest place to put it. Outsiders cringe at the sight of your belongings spread out in the most confusing ways. Finding your remote or keys is the most difficult task in the world.

2. But on a more real level, you know exactly where everything is.

Cleaning up is the worst. Somehow, a messy person can manage to tell which clothes in a huge pile of combined clean and dirty have been worn just by a quick glance. There is a method to the madness, so when someone tries to move something you begin to panic. That deck of cards on your dresser packed in with all your makeup? Yeah, it's meant to be there. The sunglasses in the cup where you put all of your highlighters? It was intentionally thrown in there. That empty box that’s been there for two weeks? It's still out for a reason.

3. You feel bad for your roommate/parent/anyone who has to live with you.

Your roommate is constantly cleaning, vacuuming, taking out the trash and more to keep your shared space livable and tidy, so a small part of you feels horrible that you make it such a mess for them, because God knows you aren't going to be the one cleaning it up. Yet, you never cease to amaze yourself at how lazy you are when it comes to actually being motivated enough to clean things for yourself.

4. It's impossible to know where to even begin when cleaning.

Beginning to clean is a nightmare. Where to start? The desk looks messy, but so does the dresser. The bed isn't made yet, but there are clothes all over it. Too much is happening at once, so it's just better to leave it be altogether and take a nap instead. You thought about cleaning, and it's the thought that counts.

5. You always say you're going to change, but it never happens.

Actions speak louder than words, and even though this time you promised yourself that you're going to be a better roommate and actually clean up for yourself, you never will. Another New Year's resolution down the drain. Being messy is in your nature, and you might as well just embrace who you are instead of trying to be someone you're not.

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