When to cut losses

There’s a saying, that no effort is ever wasted. It’s comforting to know this may be true, especially if we’ve overspent on time, effort, money even on projects or ambitions that for a host of reasons never quite take off. There’s a dichotomy of sorts between digging in, never giving up – because we are so sure it’s the right course – and cutting losses, letting go – because if it were the right course we should have confirmation by now. Surely the effort invested must be given more time to return its reward, in some shape or form? Or is it more savvy to know when to call it a day, if return remains stubborn and unyielding? When is the right time to make that decision? Stay with it? Cut it loose?

It all depends on resources available. If we’re part of a larger organisation plump enough to carry or write off the development time, then the risk is easier to swallow. If we’re a small outfit or a sole agent, there’s no padding to soften the blow when viability hits a brick wall. Which effectively makes the decision easier to cut the losses. Sizing up the brick wall must be done fast. Can we climb over it? Knock it down with a hand held tool, or is it so high, and so solid we need a bulldozer?  In which case what are actually trying to achieve? Especially as we may have no sight of what’s on the other side. More brick walls, perhaps?

Ego must be removed from the equation. Sometimes we keep going at something, because we want to prove we can. Because it’s difficult to admit something we’ve worked hard on has turned out under par. These self-indulgent musings serve no-one. They do however come up, and must be processed. The losses cut must somehow be mourned – if only briefly – to clear the mental and emotional decks for newer, better, more promising ventures we aspire to.

We are nonetheless wiser for having tried something new to discover what works and what doesn’t. We now know more about how to manage disappointment and accept the losses. If we have the right attitude we come away seeing that no effort is ever wasted.  From my experience of loss cutting, other, unexpected rewards emerge – new relationships, new ideas, new ambitions. From losses cut, there is much to gain.



 © Amanda Yensa Manor 2015


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