Path dependence is when we allow ourselves to be locked into future decisions based on a commitment (emotional, financial, etc.) to decisions we made in the past. This is true even though past circumstances may no longer be relevant and conditions may have drastically changed.

To a certain extent, path dependence is driven by an unwillingness to admit we may have been wrong. This happens even though a bad outcome does not necessarily equate to a bad decision, and luck or changes beyond our control may have rendered prior decisions moot.

Path dependence is related to group think, the often unconscious tendency of groups to coalesce around a consensus opinion and suppress dissent in a desire to avoid internal conflict or confrontation.

The past represents a sunk cost. The best decisions release the past and look forward.

Closing quotes:

“The tribe often thinks the visionary has turned his back on them. When, in fact, the visionary has simply turned his face to the future.” — Ray Davis

“Do your own research, draw your own conclusions, set your own course, and stick to your guns. When you’re just starting out, people will tell you you’re wrong. After you’ve blown past them, they’ll tell you you’re crazy. A few years after that, they’ll (privately) ask you to mentor them.” — Steve Pavlina

“Insanity in individuals is something rare, but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” — Friedrich Nietzsche