How The Anchor Effect Can Lift You Through Tough Times

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

Many times in our lives we’ll face extremely difficult, almost impossible challenges.

Oftentimes, they happen randomly and unexpectedly.

You’re not prepared for them.

However, time and time again we’re able to face these challenges head-on.

Successfully or not, we get through them.

Let me share with you what I term the “Anchor Effect” and how it has helped me time and time again throughout my life.

What is the Anchor Effect?

Let’s start with how Wikipedia defines it.

“The anchoring effect is a cognitive bias whereby an individual’s decisions are influenced by a particular reference point or ‘anchor’. Once the value of the anchor is set, subsequent arguments, estimates, etc. made by an individual may change from what they would have otherwise been without the anchor.”


In simple terms, our decisions are based on some previous experience we’ve had.

This is where my definition of the “Anchor Effect” comes into play for maximum, positive impacts.

I define it as “the ability to overcome inhumane, giant obstacles or challenges by leveraging past difficult experiences”.

Said another way, when you face a hard problem or challenging task anchor it on a previous hard experience.

How You Can Use The Anchor Effect To Lift You

Take a step back.

Breathe in.

Recollect all your challenging moments in life.

Remember what you felt in those moments: despair, disappointed, anxious, fearful.

Recall how, despite those emotions, you managed through.

Now let those moments be your guiding light for any difficult choices, decisions, or challenges up ahead.

Doing hard things becomes easier.

Because you’re allowing yourself to embrace fear, to embrace the difficult that lies ahead.

It’s only through these moments we truly find ourselves and what we’re capable of.

When you’re faced with these moments, write them down.

For example:

  • Create simple google spreadsheet
  • Write list of challenging experiences
  • Date each experience to reflect on
  • List how you managed through them and the impacts they had on you
  • Review periodically

This will be your “bible” when you face difficult challenges.

Your fears, your doubts, they won’t seem so big because you’ll be able to anchor them on your previous experiences.

My Personal Story

The “Anchor Effect” has been a big part of my life.

15 years ago, I was left homeless, penniless, and without family.

To be honest, I still don’t know how I managed to get through those times.

But deep down, I knew I would not quit.

Deep down, I knew I was a fighter. I was meant to fight through this.

Fast forward, being able to recall those tough experiences ultimately toughened me.

I learned to embrace fear head-on, to tackle the impossible, and to try new things.

The Anchor Effect is powerful.

It will make you do things you never thought imaginable.


So when you face life’s toughest moments (which will be many), refer back to the “Anchor Effect”.

Let it be your compass.

Know that you will get through these challenging moments.

That you will become stronger and more powerful from it.

Let those moments define you vs. breaking you.

Become a better version of yourself for it.

To my friends I’ve met throughout the US and the world, you inspire me.

It’s because of you I wrote this. I’m grateful we’ve had the chance to connect.

I’m reminded we’re not alone.

Stay strong.

Embrace the grind.