It’s ok to quit.
Seriously. There’s a misconception that for you to reach your goals you must be resilient and consistent. One foot in front of the other and your success will be imminent.
Sure, it’s true that you need to be able to push through when things get a little tougher, particularly if you want to break through your current situation.
But sometimes we risk sticking things out when there could be a better option, or no option at all, which is completely fine.
In this post, I’m going to put forward an argument that it’s ok to quit. In fact, I think quitting is extremely powerful! I’ll also share some questions I ask myself when deciding if I should quit something.
Note: we also recorded a podcast on the topic of quitting and it’s one of our most popular episodes to date.
Embrace quitting. Yeah! Wait, what?
I’d like to start off by saying that I’m a proud quitter. I’ve quit diets, sports, relationships, jobs, school, blogs, communities. There have been some times where it’s been challenging to quit, but for the most part quitting has come naturally to me.
Quitting used to play with my mind. I come from a family where everyone is very consistent in their thoughts and what they do. So quitting is seen as giving up or failing. So I used to be hard on myself for abandoning commitments.
But what I came to realise is that there’s a distinct difference between quitting and failing. Quitting is to stop, cease or discontinue. While failing is the non-performance of something due, required, or expected.
It’s easy to get the two mixed up which is a real risk here. It’s a risk because you may trick yourself into thinking it’s best to continue persevering something that is deriving little or no value to your life. The most common example is working a job that you hate. Sure it pays the bills, but outside of the monetary benefit, it’s literally making you depressed. What do you do?
Most people choose to stay in jobs they don’t like because they want the security, or they are afraid of what’s unknown. Even if they were presented with an alternative that pays a little less but was more enjoyable could be turned down because of the fear of the unknown.
Why you should quit more.
In an ideal world, everyone would be able to quickly assess whether a new commitment will add value to their lives and be able to say yes or no accordingly.
However, it doesn’t quite work that way. Most of us are already knee-deep in situations where it’s killing us, and we don’t even know it! 20 years can go by in a blink of an eye, and at that point, you might start to wonder how things would have panned out if you dared to quit that dead-end job or that toxic relationship. Would it of been worth the risk? I think you know the answer to that.
It’s time to change your mentality around quitting. Instead of thinking that you’re letting yourself or others down, think of quitting as an opportunity. An opportunity to do something you love. Sometimes you simply need to quit to free up some time and headspace for yourself. Take pride in having fewer but more meaningful commitments in your life.
When should you quit?
Up until this point, you’re probably thinking that it’s OK to quit anything at any time. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. There’s a fundamental difference between quitting a commitment because it’s getting too hard and quitting because it’s no longer adding value.
It’s crucial that you go deep on all of your commitments and ensure that you learn as much as possible. That might mean investing some cash into a business venture or moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend. You need to get a feel for how your commitments are benefiting you (or how they’re not helping you), and you can’t achieve that by simply scraping the surface. So in short, give it a proper chance.
After you’ve gone in-depth on a commitment, you’ll be in a better position to decide as to whether you want to quit, persevere or change course. To make things a little easier for you, here are four questions you ask yourself when you’re assessing a commitment.
1. Is this bringing me down?
Not all situations are ideal, but the hope is that most of the time, it’s much better than it is worse. However, if you’re finding that this commitment consistently puts you in a negative whirlwind, it might be time to back up your bags and leave. There’s little room for negativity in your life. Next!
2. What’s the solution?
When presented with difficult situations, it’s always best to try to work through it. As I mentioned above, you need to go deep to see if a commitment has legs. But what if you persevere, you hit a rough spot, and you do everything you can to proceed, but you still can’t get past it? It’s a strong sign that it’s time to quit.
3. Is it taking up too much of my time?
Sometimes we have to quit because the commitment demands too much of our time or energy. You might love playing volleyball, but you’ve just had twins and playing three times per week is completely draining you. Maybe then you can look at quitting one or two sessions per week to free up your time for your family.
4. Am I staying for the wrong reasons?
This is the most critical question to ask yourself when deciding to quit because the answer will often reveal the truth. If you’re purely committing to something because you’re too scared of the alternative, then it’s a good sign that you should probably quit. Fear should not be the driver to keep doing things that are not adding value. Remember the principles of minimalism and simple living; keep what’s essential and ruthlessly eliminate the rest.
What can you quit right now?
Write down all of the things you’re currently committed to. It could be jobs, school, relationships, sports, TV shows, hobbies. Go through and ask yourself the four questions above as it relates to each one of your commitments. Do they pass the test?
Image source: Flickr
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