I love throwing sh*t out. Love, love, love, love, LOVE it. I throw out high heels and curtains, jewelry and fine china. (Okay so I don't actually throw it out. I donate it. But the point is, it's goneeeee.)
It isn't just the physical stuff: I'm also (creepily) good at throwing out old ideas, old identities, and old dreams. It's all holding me down. Even the nice stuff. Even the wonderful stuff.
Because sometimes wonderful can still be heavy.
I'm talking about careers. I'm talking about relationships. I'm talking about the greatest of intentions. We hate abandoning what we've invested. We spent money! We spent years! We spent time and energy and focus, and none of it can go to waste. But it's the sunk cost fallacy at its finest: you've already spent the money. You've already spent the time. And that can never change, no matter what you do next.
So what you do next should be independent.
Imagine taking a wrong turn in Topeka, Kansas and then deciding to keep going down that road—all the way to fucking Virginia—because you'd already covered the mileage? That's asinine, but it's what we do when we've gone to school for something (and therefore don't want to waste it), worked for a company for X amount of years (and therefore don't want to waste it), or even so much as spent $100 on a pair of heels we'll never wear again (and therefore don't want to waste it).
We keep driving in the wrong direction because we don't want anything to have been for naught. We don't want to feel like we made a bad decision, so we hang onto that decision and let it dictate all the rest of the things. Forever. And, uh, ever. Until you reach the coast and go, “Wait, I didn't want to be here! What am I doing?!” Because god forbid we lose an investment. But it's that same investment that's pushing you to do things that are making you unhappy—and that's what makes it a fallacy.
On the surface, losing often looks a whole hell of a lot like losing—until you think about what you stand to gain.