Categories
Money Ramblings

Beware of the sunk cost fallacy

Question: Have you ever sat through a bad meal because you’d already paid for it and leaving would seem wasteful to you? 

Once, I had held onto a skirt that made me look bloated because I wanted to get my money’s worth. 

You may have heard the phrase, ‘cut your losses, ‘ it means to withdraw from a situation that is no longer serving you. Are you holding on to your job because you’re scared of the time and effort you’ve invested in it? Have you ever kept walking despite having the option to order an Uber because you’d covered a long distance and the oncoming vehicle might be your ride? 

Cut your losses if you’d paid a crazy sum for an item. Instead of crying over money spent, it’s more helpful to learn from your experience and make a note to watch out for next time.

If you’ve encountered something like this, then you have experienced a psychological phenomenon known as a ‘sunk cost bias.’

A sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered.

Wikipedia

Sunk cost fallacy explains the inclination to continue to invest time, effort, and money into an endeavour because of the costs we’d already incurred. 

My Experience at Dodo Pizza 😱

Last weekend, I hung out with my friend, B, at Dodo Pizza. The Pizza restaurant is known for providing Pizza by the slice and whole Pizza, in Ikeja City Mall, Lagos, which is one of the things I loved about them — the freedom to buy a pizza slice instead of having to purchase a full box. Their vast food menu is something to drool over. This restaurant provides not just Pizza, but other meal options like Sausage rolls, Chicken wings, Cinnamon rolls, different flavours of Ice Cream, and the bone of contention – Dodster. I had always wanted to have a taste of their Dodster — A dish that boasted of fine dining and chunky delights. It looked like a Sharwama, but one that went to Grad school. However, on this day, they messed up my order, switching my Classic Dodster with B’s Beef Suya Dodster. 

I did not have an idea of what the Classic Dodster tasted like, but as I bit into the hot baked wrap, I knew that this was a case of a sweet dream gone stale. Walking over to the counter, I asked if what I had gotten was the Classic Dodster, and they admitted they had mistakenly switched it up. I asked that they fix it, but they did not. The pizzaiolo who had prepared the Dodster came back to me with a message from the manager – he couldn’t care less. Their poor customer service oozed as they bade me farewell while I left their restaurant abandoning the hot baked wrap I’d purchased.

One thing about my Dodo experience is that I was able to call it quits when I could, although I felt sad that I didn’t get to eat the Classic Dodster, and peeved that the Dodo team didn’t consider me customer enough to treat me well. 

It’s okay to call it quits when you can

Here’s the deal. It’s okay to acknowledge that we’ve made a mistake and move on. Calling it quits is better than holding on to that career that you loathe. It’s better to leave a toxic relationship regardless of how much time you’ve invested. If you feel like ordering an Uber, do it right away as the bus you keep waiting for isn’t coming. It’s okay to lose $1000 instead of putting more money into that investment with the hopes that this time would yield a better result.

It’s okay to know when to abort mission, sailor.

Concluding my Dodo Pizza Story

The chef had asked how I was sure I’d have liked the Classic Dodster if they’d prepared it. In answering his question, I wouldn’t know if I’d have preferred the Suya Dodster, but it would have been nice if I’d gotten what I ordered. Taking a second look at the menu, I also might have hated the Dodster because I don’t eat ketchup. If I’d ordered a second time, it might have turned to a case of the Sharwama that went to Grad school but couldn’t finish because it flunked classes. Either way, I might not get to try out Dodo Pizza’s Dodster again. 

Lessons from Sunk Cost Bias

  1. Think of a sunk cost as money you’ve spent and cannot recover. This way, you do not depend on it to make decisions that will affect your future.
  2. Stop, once you realize that it’s time to move on to something else.
  3. Past mistakes are irrelevant. Accept what’s happened, understand that there’s nothing you can do about it, and move on.
  4. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. The point of no return only exists in our head.
  5. Invest in something new.
  6. Track your expenses and future opportunity costs.
Categories
Mindfulness Ramblings Work

When do we make out time to pause?

There are some posts you read on the internet that make you pause. One of them is from 8fit’s Coach Emily McLaughlin. Emily shared this on her Instagram page, and I have been thinking a lot about it.

“We aren’t here just to go through the motions or simply get physical. We are here to feel.”

Emily, Head Coach at 8fit

It made me wonder what the next step would be when we finally get what we want. What follows then? Do we stop chasing after sunsets or money or love or whatever it is that we have built our purpose around? Or do we find something else to chase then? 

T. S Elliot once said, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.”

In this same regard, Lee Ann wrote: “We will never reach a point in life where we will have everything we have ever desired. The whole point of life is the launching of new desires and then aligning with those desires.”

Following from the two thinkers I quoted, If we do not get to a time when we would have it all, then, I hope we remember to make time to pause?

Pause –  the act of suspending activity temporarily.

thefreedictionary.com

Emily’s post made me reflect on the act of pausing. We do too much in the pursuit of our purpose. To make sense of this world, we are nurses, teachers, project managers, digital marketers, CEOs, venture capitalists, engineers, writers, etc. We have many interests, but sometimes our passions might not be our job, yet we need money, and in search of how to make ends meet, we dabble in many things and forget to make out time to stop momentarily.

Do you ever feel like you are living a monotonous life? You wake up with your alarm, rush to the bath, eat breakfast, go to work, get stuck in traffic, eat dinner, open social media, go to bed, repeat.

If you are anything like me, you do.

I will rephrase for those who work from home. Your alarm startles you, and you remember you have a meeting for 9:10 am. You rush to the bath, brush your teeth, run to the kitchen to fix coffee, open your laptop and join your call. You might not get to leave your house for the whole day, so you order in lunch and eat it at your desk. Work is over, you close your laptop, check-in on social media, watch Netflix, go to bed, and repeat.

When do we make time to pause?

Are we going through the motions, simply because? Do we go on and on even when getting on might not make much sense?

Life is difficult. We want what we do not have, and we go to work for it. Then, we have what we had been searching for, and we still keep the chase. It can be hectic to just get by the day, so when it gets to moments like this, remember to pause. 

When you are feeling very overwhelmed, and you feel the need to drag through to complete your day, stop everything you are doing and do something different.

This week, I woke up twice in a row without feeling like doing my morning exercises.

Monday passed by, and I tried to work out, but I could not bring myself to. 

Tuesday came, yet I was still too weak to do anything. Going to work in such state would have sucked, so I left everything I was doing and pulled my body outside, with my headphones, I went for a ride on my bicycle, and I rode the most challenging ride ever on a path I had never ridden before. It was tiring, but I felt sore and better after cycling. I was ready to work when I came back.

Sometimes, all we need to break the monotony is a change of events. If you feel like you are doing the same thing over again, try to do something different. If you are used to sitting in a particular place at a restaurant, sit somewhere else. Go on a different pathway if you have a specific path you love to take. Modify your routine, take a break, and most importantly, do not forget to breathe.

Categories
Ramblings

Oh, but if you never try, you’ll never know

I moved into my new house at the beginning of July, and I’m still settling in. It’s a new city, a beautiful space with new challenges that I didn’t think to expect. I had been planning this move since December 2019, but it had not been successful – what, with the enormous demands from property owners in Lagos who prefer to have an empty space over letting their property to a single career woman? But this is a story for another day.

I’m not sure what mental space I was in when I shared that tweet, but I could make guesses. The items on my todo list? – Projects that leave me sleepless on many occasions at night, or the thought of having to start writing all over again? I let these thoughts consume me, not because I felt I couldn’t take them on, but because sometimes, I felt the weight too big to manage. Where could I possibly start?

1. Don’t let your fear drive you to the point of exhaustion.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about fear, it is that fear should be the fuel that drives us to do the things that we’ve always wanted to do. I think it is okay to be afraid. Our dreams can get too big that they frighten us, and yes, they should scare us – They should scare us into doing. I remember Shalv’s words to me on one of those days when we’d talk about fears. He said, ‘be careful not to let your fear drive you to the point of exhaustion, babe.’

Sometimes, we get too afraid that we end up not doing anything. I know this because I’ve been there. Thanks, Youper!

Since fear is not something we can control, we can decide how we want to use our fears to define our next course of action.

2. Vision boards are really helpful!

When I have an idea, I get so excited about it that I start talking all about it at once to my friends, and then the thought of how to execute it finally dawns on me, and that’s when it becomes frightening. Will this end up like other half-woven ideas?

One of the perks of working with creatives is you get to explore different ways of putting together your scattered thoughts. I learnt about using vision boards from working with Jana and Sarah.

Vision boards help you put together your thoughts using pictures and words. They really do work! First, you think about what you want – Your goals about the project, and you put them down. However it is, just put them down. I can hear Jana’s voice in my head – ‘Nanya, you don’t have to make it pretty. It doesn’t have to make sense right now. We’ll just go ahead to put them all down.’ And yes we did.

Visualisation is essential, and it helps you reduce all the fears and anxiety you had built up while your thoughts were still forming. Once you can visualise it, you can bring your dream to life. In this regards, I use Miro for brainstorming. 

3. Check if it’s on the list ☑️

Jana, my colleague, said during our hangout one morning, ‘checklists save lives,’ and I couldn’t have said it better.

I started writing again. First, I registered a domain name, then I created an account on WordPress, and wrote everything I wanted to write about in a checklist. All of these didn’t happen in a day.

If your dream frightens you, put them in a checklist and try to focus so hard on working on one item that you eventually get to check it off your list.

4. Do it.

Yagazie Emezi said ’The only way you can do it on your own is to do it on your own.’ I will borrow from her words to say, the only way you can do it is to do it.

I know many dream weavers. One of them is Shalv, who is the most consistent person that I know. I’ll tell you one. This amazing person sent me songs of the day, every day, for ten straight months without flinching. Or maybe he did, but the songs didn’t ‘flinch.’ He’s also the person whom I share my many ideas with, and he’d ask if I’d noted them down. With many projects of his own, which he’s done a great deal of work on, I can’t say that I’m not inspired.

Another dream weaver that I know is my colleague, Biodun. He wanted a unique couch and a bed he saw on Pinterest. He would make a bed for himself and one for Alexa, his dog. And off he went to the market, scared of the uncertainty of how the finished work would be, but with heart thumping with excitement, he made a bed all by himself, for himself, and Alexa. I must admit that I’d doubted that it would come out okay, but the intensity with which he made these pieces of furniture inspired me. Alexa must have been proud when she saw her beautifully designed bed with bright led lights underneath and the inscribed letters of her name boldly written at the top of her bed.

To doing things afraid

Joyce Meyer said to do it afraid.

Fear! Has it ever been a problem for you, holding you back from moving into areas that could enrich your own life and the lives of others? 

Joyce Meyer, Do It Afraid.

Oh, but if you never try, you will never know. You will never know if you’ll do better as a writer if you never give writing a try. You will never know if you’ll make it to the interview stage if you do not submit your resume. If you don’t ask for that raise, how would you ever know that you won’t get it?

Because “everything we’ve always wanted is on the other side of fear”. We have to cross over, utilize it, channel it towards our passion, and then, we can have a great story to tell.

Categories
Ramblings Work

You don’t have to be perfect here

I recently came upon this quote by John Steinbeck, and it got me thinking about a lot of things.

‘And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.’

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

If I were to tell a younger me or a newly hired junior colleague one thing, it would be: ‘You don’t have to be perfect here, you just have to be. We want you to be.’

And why not? The way I see it, we let perfect get in the way of being consistent, which is one thing I wish I knew before entering the working space. We fall into the trap of thinking that the way to do good work is by having to be perfect for the job. Sometimes we feel we are not qualified for a job because we did not tick all the requirements, so we stall in sending out our resumes but then, are companies really after perfect people?

What does perfect mean?

At various points in my career, I have sat with HR to go over the qualities we want our next candidate to possess. I have gone through a good number of applicants feedback from our engineering team and I’ve done my fair share of performance appraisals, but not once was the criteria for success being perfect. 

For me, perfect is a myth and every time we use the word, what we mean is ‘good work.’ Being on the right track means doing well at what we are assigned to do. We can’t do good work without committing positive performance over and over again until it becomes a thing – until it becomes who we are. 

When we say that someone has the perfect experience on their resume, what we mean is that they tick yes to most, if not all of the requirements listed on the job posting, they can be found wanting in some areas, but the key thing is how much of a learner they are and if they have shown exceptional promise in their field.

Who would you work with?

We want to work with someone consistent in doing the things they know how to do. We want someone open to learning and not afraid to communicate what they want. We want someone that people can vouch for, someone we trust to get the job done. Someone who has shown resilience and knowledge in how they handled their previous projects because consistency is what gets the job done. Consistency breeds progress; progress brings results and sets you up for success.

And what does positive performance mean? Showing up on time, being trustworthy and reliable, being a great team player, being consistent – This is what comes up in performance appraisals, not how perfect we were on the job.

Here’s a question – Have you ever delayed sending out a project you’re working on because you felt it had to be good enough before turning it in? Did you ever get to turn it in?

Perfect does not come up in performance appraisals. 

In the entrepreneur.com, Neil Patel wrote, ‘Trying to make something perfect can prevent us from making it just good.’ He goes further to write, ‘The perfect is the enemy of the good.’ 

Progress is what matters. Are you consistent in what you signed up willingly for? Why do we aim for perfect? Is good bad? Why can’t we aim for good work and take it from there?

Look at it this way – You finished watching a cooking show and you are fascinated by how Ronke of 9jaFoodie prepared her Afang soup, so you decide you are going to make yours exactly the way she described the steps in her video. It is going well, as you keep following the steps until you get to ‘Add a tbsp of oil which is equivalent to 15 ml,’ but you don’t have the measuring spoons. Yes, you have a regular spoon, but there is no way you can know for sure if what you have is equivalent to 15ml as described in the video. Does this spoil the chances of the food coming out good? You have two options – stop and throw the food out or continue with the process.

When we wait for perfect, it never comes. If you’d waited for when you buy a measuring spoon, you might never come around to cooking your Afang soup. 

When we remove perfect from the equation, what’s left? 

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Steve Jobs
Read: ‘A beautiful reminder about the power of showing up consistently…’

When we remove perfect from the equation, all that is left is good. Go on, be kind to yourself, and do good work. You are in the good place, and everything is fine.

Continue to be consistent and keep showing up. You don’t have to be perfect here. You just have to be.