How The Sunk Cost Fallacy Is Controlling Your Life

Josh L
2 min readApr 29, 2022


Critical thinking can save you

Photo by Michael on Unsplash

You have most likely been affected by the sunk cost fallacy at some point in your life.

For others, it’s something they can’t escape. Fear holds them back from changing course and doing what they were meant to do.

What Is The Sunk Cost Fallacy?

It’s when we justify continuing on a path because we have already used resources for that goal.

For example, let’s say you cook yourself a large meal.

You buy all the best ingredients which cost a pretty penny.

You spend an hour preparing the food and then another hour cooking it.

Then you try that first bite...

You hate it!

it tastes nothing like you thought it would. But because you have put in money and time into making it, you decide to eat the whole thing anyway.

That is the sunk cost fallacy in action.

How It Relates To Life

You may be working on a goal you no longer wish to achieve anymore because you have already spent resources on that thing.

Here’s another example.

I have been going to college for about six years now, and all I have is an associate's degree. I’ve changed majors multiple times and took a semester off here and there.

I was determined to get my Bachelor’s because of all the time and money I have already spent on my education. The reality is I hate school and don’t care if I finish it or not.

I was motivated to finish because of social pressures more than anything else.

This line of thinking doesn’t make sense. I’ve dropped out and am working toward my new goals and loving life in the process.

Think of your goals and look at your day-to-day actions. Do your actions line up with what you say your goals are?

If not, why is that?

These are important questions only you can answer.

Life Is Short

Life is too short to be doing things you don’t want to be doing.

We all make mistakes in life. The moment you realize you are on the wrong course, you need to make a change right away.

This should be a code red in your brain.

It’s an all-hands-on-deck emergency.

If you are working on something you don’t care about, you aren’t living your own life.

There is no shame in trying a lot of things in life to see what you are interested in.

Few people know exactly what they want to do in life by the time they graduate high school.

It’s alright to quit something if it gets you closer to what you are meant to do.