Sunk costs won't sink you
But your reaction to them will.
We can't start talking about the hard decision of whether to quit or double down without addressing sunk costs.
Sunk costs are all the resources we have already put into something up until now. The time, money, energy, blood sweat and tears... all of it. There is something deep in the human psyche that desperately wants it to all be *for* something. To *mean* something.
This is why we hold on when we should let go.
Not handling sunk costs is how we end up "throwing good money after bad" and wasting our resources and energy. The purely rational—and *really, really hard*—thing to do is to only consider what happens from here on out in making your decision.
Unfortunately, knowing about sunk costs doesn't inoculate us from their effects. Sometimes, it can make it worse because we resist reality even more.
While avoiding sunk costs is impossible, you can ask yourself: *would I make the same decision again, knowing what I know now?*
• would I re-up at this company, knowing what I know now?
• would I start a relationship with this person, knowing what I know now?
• would I make this bet again, knowing what I know now?
If you pay close attention and ask yourself this in a quiet space, you can usually catch a momentary, flashing impulse of "yes" or "no" in the gut. This is the real answer before the mind has a chance to start rationalizing.
Pay close attention to the first moments of your experience after asking the question. That first instinct is probably on the money. The next 3 minutes of rationalizations... less so.
Another thing you can do is give someone else, like a coach or accountability partner, the authority to be your "quitting coach." (More on this to come.)
For now, just ask yourself: would I start over on this thing, knowing what I know now?