One of the worst tricks we manage to play on ourselves is overvaluing what we already have and undervaluing what we don’t. This is especially sad since most of us don’t have all that much anyway, and taking the chance to go do something else isn’t any sacrifice at all. But it still feels like a sacrifice because one, we overvalue what we have, and two, we’re so scared of the unknown.
Will Wilkinson, in announcing a career move from political pundit to fiction writer, explains:
I think the most important thing I took away from all that time with my nose in happiness research and behavioral econ is that we overestimate the value of what we already have and so underestimate the upside of taking a chance, leaving something behind, and making a big change. Most of us end up where we are through a sort of drift. Sometimes that works out splendidly. And drift hasn’t not worked out for me. I really like what I do. But, alas, I don’t really love it. I never wanted to be a pundit or a “public intellectual.” I always wanted to be an artist of some sort and I still want that. I want to make awesome shit people love. It’s my new motto: make awesome shit people love. So here we go!