A friend of mine did his MBA and was working at a well paying job after that. But, the thing he loved the most in the world was to code. So, he quit his job, went back and did a Master's in Computer Science and is now coding away at one of the best companies to work for.
This isn't a common story that you see. That si because a lot of us are in the mind set of sticking it out. Despite everything that we know about sunk cost.
Sure, there are times when we need to stick it out before giving up and exploring something else. But that isn't the best course of action by default. In fact, that isn't the best course of action in a majority of cases.
I was watching the movie, Moneyball, over the weekend. It is a movie where a baseball General Manager (Brad Pitt) ushers in a new way of picking baseball teams, based on statistics instead of traditional scouting.
Mid way through the season, when the team is doing poorly, he asks Jonah Hill, who is the economics graduate powering the logic behind the statistical models, "Do you believe in this?" And when he says that he does, Brad Pitt then tells him, "Then don't feel like you have to explain things to people."
This is a case of sticking it out. Brad Pitt decides to stick to the original plan, and it turns out well in the end. And this is a movie based on a true story of Billy Beane.
Often, we end up sticking it out - in a job we don't like, in a relationship we don't feel strongly about, in a college we don't really care about, in a startup that doesn't have our whole heart behind it. And all this because we are afraid others won't understand our decision to not stick it out and do something else.
But we don't have to explain anything to anyone. We should try, at least in our heads, because this will let us see things that others might see that we would otherwise not see. But that's about it. Nobody around us needs to approve our decision to leave something behind and move on to something else that really sparks our interest.
You can decide to stick it out with a decision that you made a year or two ago, and that might seem the most rational thing to do as you have put in a lot of effort over that year or two. But when you know you don't want to be doing it anymore, just move on.
Understand the sunk cost fallacy. Make your decision with what is ahead of you. Not what has elapsed.