Counting The Cost

How do you know when you should keep going and when you should stop? The answer is that you need to be completely honest with yourself about all the reasons you’ve been doing it. Including the ones you’ve been hiding from yourself:

– About whether you actually know what you’re doing or just making assumptions.

-About what your chances of succeeding actually are.

-About what the cost will be. Including the cost of failure. Not just what you put into it, but also the opportunity costs, i.e., what you could have been doing instead.

Another thing we get hung up on is “sunk costs“. We’re uncomfortable with the thought of changing course after we’ve already invested a lot of time or money. This even shows up in major world events. The Iraq War, for example. Some people wanted the U.S. to keep fighting in Iraq so that all the lives lost and all the money spent wouldn’t be in vain. This was in spite of the fact that it had become clear that the war was a mistake and that many more lives and dollars would be lost if the war continued.

There are times to keep pushing forward — to keep investing more time and resources. And there are times to stop and change course. Don’t make your decision based on what was already spent. It’s a trap.