An important reason why we continue to do what we are doing — even if it is obviously not working — is the momentum fallacy: Once a body is in motion, it requires a deliberate decision to change direction.

This explains why it is much easier to enter a project, then to get out.

We all could benefit from having the courage to quit hopeless initiatives much sooner.

A powerful mental trick to improve in this area, is to make a decision in advance: It means that if we do not meet certain pre-defined criteria after a specific time, we simply quit.

Our family has implemented this approach when watching movies: If after 21 minutes we still don’t enjoy a movie, we quit and watch something else.

The same approach is useful for innovation projects: If a set of pre-determined criteria have not been met when a certain period has passed, it’s time to pull the plug and focus your energy on something else.

Know when to quit: There is a fine line between admirable persistence and block-headed stubbornness.

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