So with this one life we have, there are a finite amount of things we can do. In fact, at any one time there’s really only one thing we can be doing. Now you’re going to say “but I can talk on the phone and cook at the same time!” Sure, for many daily duties we can multitask. But for a lot of larger issues, there can only be one. For example, you can only have one 40-hour a week 9 to 5 job, because you can’t spend those 40 hours, between 9 and 5, at two places. You can only be enrolled in one graduate school program at a time. And unless you’re into polyamory, you can only be in one relationship at a time.
In the last section, I described the ‘sunk cost fallacy,’ where people are afraid to quit something they’ve invested time or money into, so they’ll spend more time and money on it. In many instances, following the sunk cost fallacy makes no sense whatsoever. For example, if you’re in a relationship that is not good enough for you to want to marry the person, then what does it matter how many years you’ve spent in it? It’s never going to give you what you want. Same with that job. If longer years spent in a company you dislike is more likely to get you a promotion, where you’d still work for a company you dislike, then again, you never reach your goal of working for a company you like.
This brings us to another economic concept that deals directly with today’s question. It’s called “opportunity costs” and it refers to the cost of what you are missing out on if you stay in your current situation. For example, if you stay in an unsatisfying relationship, you’re missing out on the opportunity to be in a better relationship. And if you stay in a job that’s not right for you, you are missing out on the opportunity to find one that is.
Now you may be currently looking for a better job while staying in one you don’t like, but you plan to quit once you find a new opportunity, that’s fine. But this concept applies most directly to relationships. You can’t wholeheartedly be looking for another relationship while you’re currently in one. Or more appropriately, you shouldn’t be. If you are, then you need to quit that relationship now to be fair to your partner. A relationship is not like a job. Where you may need to hang on to a job while looking for a new one in order to pay rent, you do not need to hang onto a relationship. In fact you shouldn’t. You should quit whatever relationship isn’t fulfilling to you so you can begin the emotional separation process that will lead to you being available when a more suitable partner comes along.
It’s normal to have all these fears about quitting… without ever realizing what you should be afraid of: missing out on something better. So don’t miss out anymore – grab every last opportunity life sends your way!