Have you ever thought about quitting something? Before the thought crosses your mind, no I am not quitting this blog. Every day, people face a great deal of pressure. I have heard expressions like winners never quit and you are not a loser until you quit trying. Quotes like that may be good for motivation but telling a person to never quit may turn out to be bad advice.
On one hand, every successful person who achieved mastery in their field did so because they kept practising even when no one else was watching. Experts all have stories to tell about how at one point, they felt like quitting but somehow found the strength to keep going. Such stories can be inspiring but they may be setting people up for unrealistic expectations. Should you keep doing something when it no longer brings you fulfilment?
This might come as a surprise to some people but the truth is successful people quit all the time. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. When they try something and discover it is no longer working, they quit. Successful people change strategy when they realise the one they are currently using has not led them closer to their goals. Successful companies change strategy when they realise the current one is not bringing them profit.
- It is Ok to quit when you need more time for yourself. In 2018, I drastically cut back on my volunteering to focus on self improvement. I informed organisations I regularly volunteered for that I was no longer available to do so. I needed to free up time to take some professional courses.
- It is OK to quit a bad habit. Your life will be better for having made the decision to replace bad habits with good ones.
- It is Ok to quit something that no longer brings the rewards it used to or you thought it would. Reality is often different from the dream. Something you thought could bring you joy might require more effort than you are willing to put into it. A typical example is keeping a pet. Some people love the idea of having a cat until they realise you have to feed it every day. That represents a daily commitment. It’s a responsibility you can’t choose to give up on a whim.
To sum it up nicely, what I am saying is should you decide an idea is not working and feel the need to quit so you can come up with a new action plan, don’t let anybody guilt trip you into believing the fallacy that successful people never quit. They do it all the time.