Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Too much commitment

While ladies are often heard complaining about their partners' unwillingness to commit, the problem in non-domestic matters is often just the opposite, according to a Stanford University study.

For example, once an analyst has given a stock a particularly optimistic or pessimistic rating, they will stick to their guns even when events prove them wrong.

As a sometime buyer of stocks, I think most investors are also guilty of hanging on to their dogs, hoping they will magically turn around and make them look like market wizards.

Same goes for hiring. Too often, I have procrastinated in dealing with someone who was clearly a bad fit for a position, refusing to acknowledge that the many fine qualities I had perceived in the screening interview were not in evidence on the job.

It seems to me that we're like that in many areas of life, remaining loyal to products and stores that no longer deserve our patronage, going back to hotels or restaurants we had recommended to others, even though the quality has now deteriorated.

The climate change deniers cling to their unsupported beliefs, even as there is evidence to the contrary all around, and on election day we're likely to vote for the same old party even though it has morphed into something quite different.

It's not just optimism, according to the study's authors, who say it has to do with our need to justify the time, effort or money we've committed to a previous course of action. We need to vindicate ourselves, so we stick to our position and hope we get lucky.


  1. Isn't that the truth.

    I have had so much trouble with Blogger since they changed their format, nothing seems to work, it is less user friendly, etc. but instead of switching to Word Press or something else I just keep hoping it will get better.


  2. I stayed with the old format, and it still works fine. I guess commitment can sometimes work in our favour ;) I have heard that Wordpress is much better than Blogger, though.