Psychological Super Powers: How to Convince Your Brain to Commit

Do you wonder if you have what it takes to create a business and stick with it? Or write that academic manuscript and get it published? How can you convince your brain to commit? You're not alone in these thoughts, and that's what we're going to talk about today in the Psychological Super Powers Series.

I want to talk about the psychological principle of the sunk-cost fallacy.

It's going to relate back to how you can convince your brain. An easy example to think about this is any time you've purchased a non-refundable ticket to something, and then maybe you've gotten sick or you couldn't go any more to the event that you had planned. And when you can't go, you're actually, "You know, maybe I will go, even if I'm really sick. Maybe I have the flu, and I think having the flu would be okay if I actually went to that concert or took that vacation or went to that event."

It's the sunk-cost fallacy because what we don't think about is, we would actually be better off staying home, recovering from the flu or whatever illness you're struggling with. And because that ticket was non-refundable, we can't get our money back.

So why do we hang onto commitments or things that we don't want to stick out?

Cognitive psychologists call this sunk-cost, because the cost is gone and yet we are so loss-averse as humans that we can't help but think about, try to strategize about ways to kind of make it all better.

The way you can use this to make your brain commit is actually to make things be a sunk cost.

When I first started my coaching business, I could have just said, "I'm doing this thing. I have this goal," and then not tell anybody, right? And then I would've just faded away and I wouldn't have had any sunk costs because nobody was really keeping me accountable. But instead, I really invested in it and took the time to make sure that I was going to commit.

So my co-creator on this series, Amanda Crowell and I, we realized we had met each other at a conference and we were both coaching, and we decided we needed to be accountability partners. We started a mastermind group with other women so we could make sure that we had monthly check-ins and more frequent check-ins. We also made sure that we hired a coach ourselves. So hiring a coach is somebody who can really help you stay accountable, right? That's part of why we know it works and why we help others as coaches. And so hiring somebody really made a difference. It became something I was invested in, and any kind of community that you can gather around this idea and this business that you're trying to grow.

So who's your community? Who can you reach out to and ask about, "Can you help me stay accountable?"

All of these things work for really making sure that you're invested and you're committed. And so of course, those are just a couple ideas, but Amanda and I have created a worksheet for you to download that gives you 15 ways that you can commit, convince your brain, be invested, so that you technically fall for the sunk-cost fallacy. We're going to use it to our advantage this time.

But remember, if you do this, then you're going to be invested and you're going to be committed. So make sure it's something that you really want to do!