In a nutshell the Endowment Effect is referred to in human studies as the action of taking something, labeling it as “ours” and then integrating it into our sense of identity. This is the reason why we go crazy when the neighbors dog steps unto our lawn. It is a survival trait that we inherited from our ancestors - the hunter/gatherers - when they decided to quit their nomadic ways and crop the fields and claim the land.
Researchers at Cornell University demonstrated the effect with a clever experiment. They gave various participants coffee mugs and offered to trade them chocolate for their mugs; almost none took the candy. “Maybe they really liked their mugs. Some are pretty cool.” Those same researchers then got another control group and reversed the trial. Now they gave their human lab rats chocolate bars and this time they asked the participants if they were willing to trade their chocolate bars for the fancy mugs. Very few took the deal.
It wasn’t about the object per say, it was about the fact that they had taken ownership of said object. This happens to all of us. At work, when we have that one mug that’s ours and only ours. When we go to school and always sit in the same chair. When we go to sleep on one side of the bed, even when it’s completely empty. When we simply can’t throw away those worn out pair of jeans, even though they are about to fall apart.
When we take ownership of something we work to keep it. It becomes part of our personality. Fatalists, above all, have a way of taking ownership of the SITUATION. They become invested in the intangible more than the tangible. Most successful people can be easily classified as fatalist on certain personality tests; they score high on that curve.
That’s why they are great leaders. That’s why they step up and never step down. That’s why they complete their goals. They link their identity, their whole identity to that goal… They take ownership of it. Not just the good bits, but the bad bits. The inherent struggles said goal will inevitably create, become intricate cogs in the way they perceive themselves. The joys of obtaining the goal also transforms into a baseline of their personality.