One of my strengths (and maybe one of my weaknesses) is that when it comes to making a decision, I am really good at taking out the sunk costs.
Like a little too good.
When I read a book and find myself with only 11 pages left but I don’t like it any more, I don’t finish it. When I study law for 5 years but realise I don’t want to be a lawyer, I decide not to become one.
Time and effort
You shouldn’t be concerned with ‘wasting’ time, money or effort that you’ve invested in the past – there’s no point.
You can never get that time and effort back, regardless of whether you continue down that path or not.
I’m not saying that there’s no value in consistently and persistently working towards a goal – of course there is. The time and effort that you’ve put in in the past will pay off if you continue down that road.
What I’m talking about is when you realise that the ladder you’re climbing isn’t the one that you want to get to the top of.
When you’re climbing the wrong ladder
Should you continue just for the sake of it? Just so you can ‘know’ that all of your past effort wasn’t ‘for nothing’?
Should you waste the next 50 years just because you don’t want to ‘waste’ the last 5?
Maybe you think that if you decide to change careers it means that you need to admit that a decision you made in the past wasn’t the right one. But that’s not true. You made the best decision you could based on the knowledge and information that you had at the time.
But now you have new knowledge and information – why not use it?
Maybe you can imagine the critics who doubted your decision coming back to point and laugh and say “I told you so”. But so what? If this is the reason you’re going to waste the next 50 years – so no one will say “I told you so” – then maybe you need to have a look at your priorities.
I’m not trying to tell you that if you see a shiny object you should chase it or if things get though then you should just give up and try something else.
I’m trying to tell you that if you want to change careers, if there is something else out there that will make you come alive, and the only reason you’re not pursuing it is because you don’t want all of your past effort to be ‘for nothing’ – change.