Don’t fall for this thinking bias

Have you ever decided to keep something you didn’t want anymore simply because it was expensive to buy?

2 min readJan 8, 2022

Have you ever decided to keep reading a 300-page book to the very end even though you didn’t enjoy the first 50 pages of it?

Have you ever decided to stay and watch the rest of a 2+ hour movie even though you thought it was boring?

If you’re like most people, then you probably answered “yes” to all three of these questions.

But the question is why?

It’s simple. It’s because of what psychologists call “sunk cost bias.”

Sunk cost bias is our tendency as humans to continue investing in a losing proposition because of what it has already cost us.

This shouldn’t be surprising to you, though.

Quitting something we’ve already invested a lot of our time, money, energy, or love into is incredibly difficult.

Mainly, because no one wants to admit that they wasted money, energy or years of their life to something or someone that could have been better spent elsewhere.

Because of this, most people would rather carry on with a meaningless task, object, or activity than admit they were wrong.

This is why people continue investing in bad investments for way too long.

It’s why people stay in bad relationships when they should break up.

And it’s why people stay in jobs they hate.

But doing this is irrational.

In the book “The Art of Thinking Clearly,” author Rolf Dobelli explains that rational decision-making requires you to forget about the costs you’ve incurred up to date.

No matter how much time or money you have already invested, only your assessment of the future costs and benefits should matter.

So like the old saying goes, if you ever find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Investing more into something that’s not working, won’t make it better. It’ll only make it worse.

Remember, every day or dollar you spend on something that isn’t enriching your life is a day or dollar you aren’t investing in something that could.