Last week’s post was about not seeing. This week’s is about the flipside: seeing but not changing.
It’s easy to do. Or rather, not do. I had been married for seven days. After the loneliest week of my life, I knew I had made mistake. But it would have been horribly embarrassing to get a divorce after only a week. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. Maybe it was simply Jamaica that had lured him away. Do I give the gifts back to the store or back to the givers? It was too hard to think about so I didn’t. I told myself it would get better. It didn’t. It took me seven years to leave.
When I worked for a global Fortune 100 company, I was in a meeting to make a decision about a software project. We were one year into the project and had spent one million dollars. There were twenty people in the room and every one of us agreed the project should end. There was no possibilty for a good outcome, nothing could be salvaged. It was time to pull the plug. But the plug wasn’t pulled until a year later, after the company had spent two million dollars more, for a total loss of three million.
At the heart of sunk costs is pride. The company was more willing to throw good money after bad than admit we had made a mistake, we were wrong. In my marriage, I was more willing to throw good time after bad than admit I had made a mistake, I was wrong.
So much pain, so much loss could be avoided—for companies and people—if we could simply say to ourselves, “I was wrong” and say to the others, “I was wrong. I’m sorry.”
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Chewing the Cud of Good
Sixty-four degrees is one of my favorite temperatures. When it’s 64°, I don’t need a jacket, just a long-sleeved shirt. I can stand outside and feel the cool air on the skin of my cheek. I can be warmer if I stand in the sun or cooler if I stand in the shade. Leda can run and not get too hot from running.