Friday, October 21, 2011

Moammar Gadhafi and the Pompitous of Love

If you’re a shrink—professional or amateur—you’ll have a field day with this one…

This morning, when I opened the newspaper to see that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi (the crazy guy with dyed-black hair that looked like Larry’s in the Three Stooges) had been murdered by rebels I immediately thought of the Steve Miller song, “The Joker.”

In the first verse he sings about “the pompitous of love.” Pompitous is a neologism, a made-up word, and only God knows what Miller meant by it other than a reference to one of his other songs.

My connection, though, was that with Ghadhafi, life and love sometimes we don’t know when to let go. We want to hang on for a whole range of reasons, some that make sense and some that don’t, and we often hang on too long. In America we have the mythology that giving it one more shot will win.

In The Personal MBA, author Josh Kaufman talks about sunk costs in business. We spend so much trying to make a go of a venture, but at some point we come to the realization that it just won’t work. Unfortunately, we often double down to try and win our losses back. It never works. Sunk costs are what we’ve sunk into the venture and we might as well chalk them up to experience and move on.

It’s really, really hard to do that though.

But, you know what? Wherever on the spiritual plane Moammar is right now I bet he’s wishing he was sitting in exile in some mansion in the south of France thinking, “Those bastards never really appreciated me.” We all think that about the sunk costs.

Have a great weekend! Enjoy the beginning of fall. See you Monday.

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