Why you stay when you should leave

Why you stay when you should leave

Scenario #1: Have you ever gone to see a movie and halfway through the horrible movie and you’re thinking, “This isn’t going to get any better! Why am I wasting my time watching this junk? I should leave.” But, you don’t. You stay! Why?

And, after watching the final hour you say to yourself, “Ugh! I should’ve left an hour ago.” Why did you stay?

Scenario #2: Have you ever been in a job or situation where you KNEW things weren’t going to get better but you stayed? You said to yourself, things like:

  • Maybe things will change.
  • Maybe something will happen to force a change.
  • Maybe we’ll get lucky and things will change.
  • Maybe I just need to change my attitude and my situation or outcome will change.

Scenario #3: Have you ever made an investment and slowly over time it loses its value and luster, but you still hold onto it and stay the course?


Why do you stay?

Well, there are 3 possible reasons:

1) Sunk Cost Fallacy: This fallacy is defined as “the phenomenon whereby a person is reluctant to abandon a strategy or course of action because they have invested heavily in it, even when it is clear that abandonment would be more beneficial.”

In simpler terms, you shifted your schedule to make time for this movie, invested an hour of your time to get ready and drive to the movie theatre, and you’re an hour into this movie so you might as well finish watching the last hour.

2) Need for closure (NFC) is a social psychological term that describes an individual’s desire for a clear, firm answer or peaceful resolution to a question or problem to avert ambiguity.

In simpler terms, you gotta know! Your brain craves closure; it abhors open loops (i.e., not knowing). If you don’t stay to the end you’ll always wonder what happened or if you were right (i.e., the movie WAS horrible). Watching the movie to the end provides that closure.

3) FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. Self-explanatory. What if you miss something? What if it did get better and you didn’t see it?

Rewire Your Thinking

  1. Sunk Cost: The longer you stay the more you’re delaying moving on to something more productive or fulfilling. Chasing the sunk cost loss and hoping things will get better is a losing proposition in most cases. Be honest with yourself! How much more are you losing by staying?
  2. Need for Closure: Life is full of mysteries; learn to accept that you don’t have to know the outcome, you simply have to know that it’s not for you. Don’t hang around hoping some external force will change things for the better. Focus on what YOU can control; you’re ability to walk away!
  3. FOMO: Ask yourself, “Even if things did change, is the outcome really worth holding on to? Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Now, if it’s something you believe in strongly, then yes, hold on! Fight for it! But, if you’re just holding on for the sake of being there ‘just in case’, that’s never a good strategy. What are you missing out on by staying?

Who needs to read this? Well,…

If you’re holding on to a job you don’t really like,…

If you’re waiting for someone else to change,…

If you’re losing money and hoping things turn,…

If you’re in a relationship that is not working,…

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