Why Quitting Is Good Actually

The fear of quitting is real, says Ellen Hendriksen, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders and the author of How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety. She tells me that this fear is often related to something psychologists call the sunk cost fallacy, a term that refers to people’s tendency to continue a behavior or a commitment once they’ve already invested significant, unrecoverable effort into it. For example, if someone paid for nonrefundable plane tickets to go on vacation, then broke a leg just before the trip, they’d likely consider the “sunk cost” — the price of the tickets — when deciding whether they should still go. But that money has already been spent; it’s better to consider whether you’ll actually be able to have a good time on the trip, and to take into account the additional money you’ll spend once you’re there, on costs like transportation, food, and entertainment.

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