In September 2019, I made a list of 12 things I needed to do before I was ready to launch my daily blog.
Some of them were things I had to do like pick a name and decided whether to have the option of likes and comments. Others were things to think about, like deciding whether to have social media for the blog and what the Instagram feed would include.
I didn’t complete all twelve things before I began but things still turned out pretty good.
Looking back over the list serves as a useful reminder. You don’t need to do as much as you think you need before you get started.
So often, we end up using not being ready or not prepared enough as an excuse to not begin which comes from a place of fear, it’s rarely because we actually need more time.
When I first heard the term ‘sunk costs’ I had no idea what it meant. However, I heard it from Seth Godin so I payed attention and came to find that it referred to money that had already been spent (which you can’t get back) that should not be considered in future decision making.
This idea can be applied to more than just money, it can also be applied to time although they say time is money so it all really just boils down to the same thing.
The idea of sunk costs is so useful because often we make decisions based on the past whereas sunk costs advises us to put that aside and make choices based on the present. I think it helps us to become more rational decision makers instead of relying on how things of the past have made us feel.
I think it’s fair to say that most people are enticed by new things. A new habit, a new opportunity even a new person. As much as we can fear the new there are many instances when it actually excites us.
Yet, in many cases instead of going towards the new thing, we look back.
We look back with this cosy feeling of nostalgia for what once was or what it’s time to move on from and all of a sudden we begin to hesitate.
That’s when the fear and ‘what ifs’ kicks in.
What if things don’t work out?
What if this new thing isn’t better than what I’ve left behind?
What if I have to start over again?
The what if questions we ask are rarely framed in a helpful way and only serve to amplify the fear.
The alternative to looking back is to focus on the possibilities that will come from embracing the new and learning to trust that you’ll be fine.
I don’t know was one of my most used phrases during my school days.
It was an easy 3 words to use in situations where I didn’t want to participate, like class.
I’d sit daydreaming, ruminating or just quietly paying attention. Then all of a sudden a teacher would call on me for the answer to a question.
Perhaps I hadn’t heard it or maybe I didn’t want to think or join in because after all my hand wasn’t even up.
So, I’d almost immediately respond with I don’t know even if after some thought I might have had an answer to contribute.
I never wanted to offeranything because on the occasions that I did, my hand would be up.
And so when I used to say I don’t know it just meant that I didn’t want to offer, join in or engage.
This phase of my life was around 10 years ago at a time where I found it incredibly difficult to use my voice.
These days I’m more commonly heard saying I’m not sure and I’m much more willing to contribute something and be wrong instead of saying nothing at all.
If you find yourself using I don’t know as a regular response ask yourself why because you might find that it could actually be replaced with the phrases ‘I don’t want to think’.
And if you don’t want to think then you might be a lazy person or you might be scared of being wrong.
Either way there’s something to work.
…in anger (this has nothing to do with Oasis but I do love that song!).
You can spend your whole life working on improving aspects of your life. Imagine you’ve always struggled with your career and finding something that you like that pays enough that you can live a life you’re happy with you.
Imagine you’ve spent years feeling unsatisfied moving from job to job.
Then all of sudden you find something that is everything you’ve always wanted and you’re finally happy doing what you do to earn a living.
But you’re also left with somewhat of a gaping hole in your heart where that struggle used to be.
Even though things have changed for the better, it feels as though something is missing because you’re lighter now.
What’s missing is the stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, worry and the struggle. Yet somehow you might find yourself longing for what once was.
Overcoming is a pretty big deal, acknowledge what you’ve accomplished and don’t look back on what once was.
In the process of making a difficult decision I turned to the words of Seth Godin for guidance. I found a few useful posts on sunk costs and it made me realise one of the things I needed to stop considering.
When making plans for the future if you do it based on past experiences that didn’t go to plan it taints your mind.
Decisions based on the past are too often made from a place of fear or include factors that have no bearing on the future unless you let them.
I think it’s useful to start by wiping your slate clean. Start with where you’re at right now and weigh up the pros and cons of both choices. And consider what you want and what your personal plans are not just what looks good on the outside.