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We often find ourselves engaging in activities that take up our time and energy despite knowing they may not really be worth it.

This is called the “sunk cost fallacy”. It’s the tendency of people to unreasonably continue on with an activity despite knowing that it will not meet their expectations simply because time, money and effort was spent.

This explains why most people finish movies in theatres that they’re not enjoying or still keep clothes in their closet that they’ve never worn.

It also has a huge basis on the feeling of wasted effort.

Example:

After exclusively dating a man, the woman ponders whether to maintain the relationship. After weighing the positive and negatives, she comes to the realization that if she continues to date this same man, it won’t allow her to achieve the quality of relationship she desires. The most logical thing for her to do is immediately end the relationship right?

Unfortunately, people don’t always make rational decisions. Before making a decision she might consider everything she invested in the relationship. Perhaps she has put quite a lot of time/effort/money into helping the man fix up his car etc. Although these prior investments can’t be undone, decision makers tend to choose to hang on to a current relationship that they know won’t meet their expectations.

 

Aidyl is a 2nd year Undergraduate Student in Psychology from Ireland. She is an intern at Willingness Clinic, has a background in Nursing Studies and is currently a Student Ambassador for Psychology in her University.