'Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.' —Aubrey de Grey
The best way to disarm our biases is to first become aware of them. The concept of sunk cost fallacy has it that after having invested X amount of time, resource and effort into something, it is worth pursuing, even when from a rational standpoint it’s probably not the best idea. Again, this is another great example of our illogical nature at work - we want our money’s worth even if doing so is likely to cause us more harm than good.
As much as we like to make ourselves believe that we’re not in it for the end goal, the truth is that more often than not we really are. We will only enjoy the journey so long as we know there’s a reward waiting for us at the destination.
Romantic relationships are a prime example of how this bias of ours takes over. We make the mistake of thinking that because a relationship ends everything that we have put into it has gone to waste. The broken lens through which we see reality makes us magnify our losses and toss aside the growth, lessons and perhaps all the good that may have come from the endeavors we once had committed to.
In the end, is there more to win out of staying in dead end jobs, unhappy relationships and degrees that no longer interest us? I don’t think so. Endings are never easy, but they might eventually pave the way to new and perhaps healthier beginnings that are a better fit for us.