“The Sunk Cost Fallacy”

Here’s a piece from YouAreNotSoSmart.com on the Sunk Cost Fallacy, the idea that you’ve already invested so much in a bad idea that you can’t leave it behind.

If you dropped your cell phone over the edge of a cruise ship, you would need James Cameron’s unmanned submarine fleet to find it again. Sure, you could spend a small fortune to retrieve it, but you wouldn’t throw good money after bad. Laid out like this, logical and rational and easy to pick apart, you can pat yourself on the back for being such a reasonable human. Unfortunately, the sunk costs in life aren’t always so easy to see. When something is gone forever it can be difficult to realize it. The past isn’t as tangible a concept as the sea floor, yet it is just as untouchable. What is left behind is just as irretrievable.

Sunk costs drive wars, push up prices in auctions and keep failed political policies alive. The fallacy makes you finish the meal when you are already full. It fills your home with things you no longer want or use. Every garage sale is a funeral for someone’s sunk costs.

Every dawn a new day’s born. It’s never too late to be smart.

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