My friend has been broken up with an ex girlfriend for a while and while we were talking today, he admitted to me that he still wasn’t over her. To top it off, it was a relationship that had only lasted a month and the breakup happened 5 months ago. I think that most people would agree that he should be over her by now. When I asked him about it, I realized something. The things he talked about were not focused around the features of the girl, but rather, the time as well as money spent. He admitted to spending quite exorbitantly, taking her to a $$$$ restaurant for a second date, Disneyland for the third, Seeing a Broadway shows and so much more, all of which came out of his pocket. He also said that he had fun with her… but that seemed to be secondary to how he felt about spending so much money. I started wondering if he actually missed her, or just felt like he didn’t get a return on his investment.
“The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.” -Unknown
This reminds me of my working life. When I put a lot of time and sweat equity into something, the achievement seems so much greater. I always set goals for myself in order to have something to aim for but what I have found is the goal is not as important. What I become in the process of chasing the goal becomes greater than the goal itself.
However, this idea seems to have created an averse affect on my friend as he feels the need to justify the sunk costs. A study was done where people were asked to value something once they had waited in line to get it versus when there was no line. It turns out that people who waited in line, ended up feeling more enjoyment out of a product when compared to those who did not have to wait at all. This goes against all economic beliefs where optimization is achieved when pricing is set at a point where there is no waiting required. Having a line may actually give you greater happiness. So get yourself waiting in more lines because, as it turns out, if we have to work for something, we also feel a greater sense of happiness once we attain it.