Was it all a waste? The sunk cost fallacy
Hey Abundant Musicians!
Today, we’re talking about your musician training - specifically, whether or not it was a waste!
For anyone super concerned that I just took a dark turn in my career and life worry not! - my short answer is that it was absolutely not a waste!
BUT I want to take you through one of THE most common concerns when branching out into music entrepreneurship.
The fear of selling out. (dun dun dun)
At the very beginning of my journey in music entrepreneurship, I was plagued by this fear of selling out. I was terrified that I had spent my 6 years of undergrad and graduate school (and not to mention the thousands and thousands of dollars I’d spent getting educated) on something that wasn't going to actually be the thing I was building a career upon.
I was terrified that my training as a saxophonist was going to be wasted if I branched out and moved away from saxophone performance as my main income source, and that people would judge me for wasting my time and money all those years.
I remember sitting on my bed as I had my mini quarter life crisis tying to figure out what it was that I wanted in my life. I felt super lost and I had this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that I was developing another interest alongside my saxophone performance, but I was terrified to even give this thing a name.
I just couldn’t get past the idea that I’d spent all this time and money, I’d moved across the world to pursue my saxophone studies and had essentially planned my life out to be a concert saxophonist and music teacher, and anything less than that would mean I had sold out, failed and that everyone i knew would judge me for doing something different than what I had set out to do at the age of 18.
I remember the feelings associated with this too. Fear, nervousness, excitement and guilt. SO MUCH GUILT! I had spent all of this time and money on my craft, learning, growing, studying and I was so fortunate to have done all of these things that I had no right to explore something else before I had really achieved the huge success I had planned out ahead of me.
Do you ever feel like this when you think about what it is that you want to do? Do you ever worry that if you follow a side path, you’re cheating on your investment in school?
Do any of these statements ring true for you?
"But I already put so much work into it, I just have to make it work."
"I spent 10 years studying my instrument, there is no way I can quit."
"I hustled so hard for the past few months, I can't give up everything I built."
This is the trap of the Sunk Cost Fallacy!
“Sunk cost fallacy is the belief that anything you’ve already invested in deserves greater investment—even if it was a poor investment in the first place, and even if the investment is unlikely to lead to the desired outcome.” — LISA JO RUDY
Now, don’t get my wrong. I’m NOT AT ALL saying that your investment in your education was a poor investment.
Investing in your education is absolutely one of the best types of investments you can make.
The part of this quote that interests me is the “believe that anything you’ve already invested in deserves greater investment”.
We all want to do what's best for ourselves in the long run, but some times we allow the Sunk Cost Fallacy to block the things that we really need to pursue, because we’re afraid that we’ve wasted our time or money on the initial investment.
After I realized that I was allowing this sunk cost fallacy to get in the way of figuring out what it was that I really wanted, I was able to put a name to that niggling feeling, and discover entrepreneurship. I was able to uncover my own interest in business and marketing, and was able to see that my investment in my musical training combined with my new found interest in business allowed me to branch out and explore a world I didn’t even know existed!
My experience in music has enabled me to create this life for myself, and as as result, nothing about my educational investment has been a waste!
Do you ever have these concerns when you’re considering a new project or idea? Does the idea of being seen as a sell out, or not maximizing your investment in your education scare you away from these projects and experiences?
Please don’t believe anything about this Sunk Cost fallacy. It is a trick your mind likes to play on you when its trying to keep you small and safe. Your experiences and the knowledge you have are all leading you to the place you want to be, but you might not know what that is just yet.
Allow you curiosity to guide you, not terrify you, and you will likely uncover new and exciting ways to combine everything you’ve done up to this point with new and interesting avenues, and when you do that, no one can think anything less of you than “amazing”.
Give yourself permission to be ok with your past investments while you explore new avenues. Nothing is a waste, and know that the Sunk Cost will more than likely benefit you in the future in ways you could never imagine!