Stop Loss!

Every person dealing with the stock market knows the term ‘Stop Loss!’. It simply means to get out of a devaluing investment before it’s value tanks further. Many investors do not take that decision, in hope of recovering their investment, by holding on and hoping that the value will rebound one day!

Doesn’t this apply to so many other aspects in our life? How often do we find ourselves spending precious time, energy and may be even money to salvage a business, a relationship, a decision gone wrong? It is so difficult to pull back and assess whether we should apply ‘Stop Loss’. So many couples spend their entire life in a toxic relationship, hoping for a turnaround one fine day. That turnaround may happen in less than 5% of the situations. The remaining 95% have decided to sacrifice this birth at the altar of one relationship! It happens so often that a business idea that seemed promising doesn’t work as planned. Several dynamics are involved in the success of a business; some can be controlled and yet many are beyond control of the entrepreneur. The founder has to take the tough decision to shut shop or reinvent. There is no point crying hoarse trying to sell the wares nobody wants anymore. Similarly, with so many youngsters who find they made the wrong education or career choice. Often the choice of an institution and a career are based on academic performance, rather than what really excites the child. Having spent years studying the selected course, most prefer to languish in the uninspiring field rather than gathering the guts to go for a ‘Stop Loss’.

What makes the decision to stop loss so difficult? Is it fear? Fear of beginning afresh, fear of the unknown outcome once more, or fear that time is no longer on your side. Is it ego? An inability to accept failure. Social or peer pressure? A worry about what people will say, worry about being judged, or worry about losing the support of your family and friends. Is it the dangerous comfort zone phenomenon? You are so used to your current situation, that you rather deal with the known devil than gather the courage for dealing with an unknown devil. But, here is the deal – no pain, no gain. Unless you take the decision and face change gallantly, you will never be able to salvage your situation. We are human, it is impossible to be right at all times. We will make mistakes, our decisions may not turn out to be the smartest, but what is important is to accept and make amends. Continuing in the same situation takes a huge toll on the physical, mental and emotional state. The longer you take to do something about it, the more the likely damage.

If mice are the first ones to abandon a sinking ship, then well, they are just better wired for survival! This is your life; you get only one chance to make something out of it. To nourish your soul, to make a mark, to live in a way you can look back with a smile and pride. I think it is our duty to do justice to this gift of life and not waste it behind one wrong decision. It is our duty to be happy. We owe it to ourselves to follow our heart and do what makes us happy because no one else is living our life. Life is meant to be a celebration not a punishment. Let’s not throw good money behind bad money, and destroy a bright future over a past failure. Apply brakes at the right time. Stop loss!