“Mirchi” Syndrome and “Paisa Vasool” Mindset : The “Sunk Cost Fallacy”
SUNK COST FALLACY
Dear Reader — Since I am not a highfalutin economist — let me try and explain the SUNK COST FALLACY by telling you a simple story…
WAITING FOR THE SWEET CHILLI
(Chilli is also spelt “Chili” or “Chilly”) aka “Hirvee Mirchi”
Story By Vikram Karve
(Waiting for the Sweet Chilli…)
On his first visit to India — a rich merchant saw a man selling a small green fruit which he had never seen before.
The merchant was hungry.
The luscious green fruit looked so fresh and appetizing.
The merchant was tempted and curious — so he asked the vendor:
“What is this green fruit…?”
“Hirvee Mirchi — Hari Mirch. These are chillies — fresh green chillies…” said the hawker.
The merchant held out a gold coin.
The vendor was so overjoyed that he gave the merchant the full basket of chillies.
The merchant sat down under a tree.
Then he started to munch on the chillies — eating the green chillies one by one.
Within a few seconds his tongue was on fire — his mouth was burning — and tears streamed down his cheeks.
But despite this discomfort — the merchant went on eating the chillies — chewing them one by one — scrutinizing each chilli carefully before he put the piquant hot green chilli into his burning mouth.
Seeing the merchant’s condition — a passerby remarked:
“What’s wrong with you…? Why don’t you stop eating those spicy hot chillies…?”
The Merchant answered:
“Out of all these Chillies — maybe there is one Chilli that is Sweet — I am waiting for the Sweet Chilli…”
MORAL OF THE STORY
In this story– the “chilli” is a metaphor for anything that is harmful or detrimental to you.
In your life — a “chilli” can represent an unsatisfying career, a harmful habit, uncongenial people or a strained relationship.
Do you continue to pursue unrewarding things and toxic relationships — hoping for some reward at the end?
Do you keep eating “chillies” — waiting for a “sweet chilli”…?
Remember — there is no “sweet chilli”.
So is there any point to cling onto painful relationships and harmful things in vain hope of discovering a “sweet chilli”…?
Instead of clinging on — is it not better to let go of all detrimental and damaging things in your life and move on in life…?
Is there any point in clinging on to suffocating inharmonious relationships…?
Is there any point in persisting with an unrewarding career…?
Is there any point holding on to dud stocks and worthless investments…?
Is there any point in continuing harmful activities and unhealthy habits…?
Is there any point in pursuing all sorts of infructuous, incompatible, negative, deteriorating, dissipating and dead-end situations in life…?
Instead of clinging on to these negative things — isn’t it better to let go of all these detrimental damaging things in your life — and move on in life…?
Or — do you believe in keeping on eating “hot chillies” — hoping and endlessly waiting for the “sweet chilli” — when you very well know that a “sweet chilli” does not exist…?
“PAISA VASOOL” MINDSET
(Getting Your “Money’s Worth”…)
Despite not finding a “sweet chilli” — and guessing from his experience that there was no likelihood of him finding a “sweet chilli” — the merchant kept on eating the green chillies.
The merchant’s tongue was on fire — his mouth was burning — and tears streamed down his cheeks — but despite this suffering — the merchant continued eating the chillies.
On his way back — the same passerby noticed that the merchant’s condition had become miserable.
The merchant’s face was red with agony — and copious tears were pouring out of his burning eyes.
But the merchant kept on eating the chillies — in his search for the ‘sweet chilli’.
Seeing the terrible condition of the merchant — the passerby shouted at the merchant:
“Stop eating those chillies at once — or you will die.
There are no “sweet chillies”.
Haven’t you realized this by now…?
Look at the basket — it is almost empty.
And have you found even one “sweet chilli” as yet…?”
The merchant croaked in agony:
“I cannot stop eating these chillies — until I eat all the chillies.
I have to finish the whole basketful of chillies.
I have paid for the full basket — and I will make sure I get my full money’s worth by eating all the chillies…”
And so — the merchant continued eating the chillies despite his suffering till he had finished eating all the chillies in the entire basket — and finally — when he finished eating all the chillies — he collapsed in great pain and agony.
Of course — the Merchant never found the “Sweet Chilli” he was hoping for.
MORAL OF THE STORY
Are you a “Paisa Vasool” type — who will do something painful just because you have paid for it…?
Let me give you example.
Sometimes — you order a dish at a restaurant.
The dish tastes terrible — but you insist on eating the entire dish just because you have paid for it.
You join a course — say Engineering or Medicine.
Within a few days you realize that you are not enjoying studying Engineering/Medicine.
But — just because you have paid fees for the course — you suffer the entire course and become an Engineer or Doctor.
And then — you suffer your entire life because you are in the “wrong” profession.
I have seen this “Mirchi” Syndrome and “Paisa Vasool” Mindset in the Military too.
A boy joins the National Defence Academy (NDA) as a cadet.
Within a few days he realizes that — for him — military life is like eating “hot chillies” — but — instead of quitting NDA and taking up a vocation that suits him — due to the “Mirchi” Syndrome — the cadet continues “eating chillies” — in the vain hope of discovering a “sweet chilli”.
Many years later (after eating “hot chillies” year after year) — he realizes that there are no “sweet chillies” in military life — but by now — he is afflicted by the “Paisa Vasool” Mindset — and he continues suffering in the military till he completes his pensionable service (to get his “Paisa Vasool”) — little realizing that — he cannot get back the prime years of his life he has spent in an unhappy profession.
Would it not have been better for him to quit NDA the moment he realizes he is not suited for military life — and change over to a civilian profession that suits him better.
It is this “Mirchi” Syndrome and “Paisa Vasool” Mindset that makes cling on to unsatisfying careers, dud worthless investments, harmful habits, uncongenial people, and strained or toxic relationships — even when your inner voice tells you to let go and move on in life…
Rather than hold on to useless dud stocks — is not better to “book your losses” — and get out before your stocks become totally worthless and you go financially “kaput”…?
Why cling on to an unrewarding job till you become bitter and useless…?
Sometimes — a relationship is so demoralized by distrust that it is better to terminate it — and put an end to the relationship and break up — rather than make futile attempts to patch up — and continue searching in vain and suffering in pain waiting for the elusive “sweet chilli”.
We know some things are not good for us — and we should let go of these things.
But we continue to persist.
First — we hope to find the “sweet chilli”.
And then — in that hope — we keep “eating chillies” — and we keep on suffering pain.
This is the “Mirchi” Syndrome.
At some point in time — we discover that there is no “sweet chilli”.
But — due to our “Paisa Vasool” Mindset — we still continue to shackle ourselves to painful people, strained relationships, harmful habits, negative careers, loss-making investments and detrimental things — when we should let go, move on, liberate ourselves and be happy.
SUNK COST FALLACY
The story above illustrates the Sunk Cost Fallacy:
After realising that there is no sweet chilli — the merchant could have stopped eating the chillies and thrown away the rest of the chillies in the basket — but — he kept on eating the hot chillies and suffering just because he wanted to realise his money’s worth.
In the first case — had he stopped eating the chillies and thrown away the chillies — he would have suffered a monetary loss — but by continuing to eat all the chillies — he suffered monetarily as well as physically — a double whammy.
The sunk cost fallacy is when you continue an action just because you have invested resources rather than cut your losses and opt out.
Dear Reader — don’t you see examples of this everywhere — the “Sunk Cost Fallacy” — or — the “Mirchi” Syndrome and “Paisa Vasool” Mindset — as I call it.
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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- This blog post is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
- All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2017/08/mirchi-syndrome-and-paisa-vasool-mindset.html
This is an extract from my lecture notes on Technology Management written by me more than 25 years ago in the 1990s and posted online a number of times on my various blogs including at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2008/05/sweet-chilli.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/12/sweet-chilli-mirchi-story.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/08/wisdom-in-wit-and-humor-story-of-sweet.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/04/mirchi-syndrome-and-paisa-vasool-mindset.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/have-you-eaten-sweet-chilli.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2020/09/10/mirchi-syndrome-and-paisa-vasool-mindset/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/02/09/story-of-the-sweet-green-chilli/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/05/25/sunk-cost-fallacy/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/05/26/mirchi-syndrome-and-paisa-vasool-mindset-sunk-cost-fallacy/ etc
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.