May 22nd

Sunk costs and the sunk cost fallacy get in the way of rational decision making when it comes to you, your stuff, and your money. Sunk Costs are what they sound like: cost (in terms of money or effort) that has already been spent (sunk into the project). The implication is that we aren’t done spending yet, and that is where the sunk cost fallacy comes into play. We vigorously tell ourselves that we just cannot abandon the costs expended already. Hence the “fallacy” part. Of course you can! The true warrior knows that what has been spent has been spent. It is no longer in the purse, in the bank, or in the treasury. So don’t factor it into the current proposal. Let the current proposal stand on its own two legs. Don’t let the sunk costs fallacy taint your thinking and skew your analysis. The sunk cost fallacy can be applied to behaviour, when you consider the investment in time and energy to also be sunk costs. This makes it much harder to change your course and pursue new opportunities. The argument goes something like this: “I can’t switch my major now. I have invested three years studying law. If I switch over to economics or medicine, those three years will have been wasted!”

What gets overlooked is the fact that the time is already gone, regardless of the direction you take today. Whether you label that time as wasted or productive, it doesn’t change the fact that the past is past. You cannot reach back and change it in any way, nor can you bring it into the present. It is in the past. True warriors know that what is in front of them is what needs to be evaluated—solely on the merits of what it’s all about going forward, not on what it does to make you feel better about your past decisions, behaviours, or spending.

If you are going to acquire a new ride, decide on the basis of what the new ride will do for you today, not on the basis of what it does for your mental condition regarding your last ride. All of us have trouble letting go, and letting the past be in the past. We have trouble recognizing that each decision today is in and about today. Try assessing the merits of your actions based on that idea, not on what you have done so far. Remember that old poker axiom: “You gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.” If the bets are on the table (in the past) and you have a bad hand (in the moment), do not make the situation worse by stubbornly holding on (in the future) until there is absolutely no doubt left that you are a really bad poker player!

True warriors take a lesson from the experiences of others, and decide that they will not have to learn this lesson the hard way. The true warrior looks afresh at each moment, and lets the past reside in the past—as a testament to itself and not to today. You are warriors. By being willing to let go of what you have done, without regret or recrimination, you will be strongly positioned to see the writing on the wall … and by being unencumbered by the past, you will be poised to take advantage of it. You will be able to succeed by being fleet of mind and nimble of foot. So it has been written herein.