Winners never quit and quitters never win. So, the saying goes. Inspiration hits via motivational quotes remind us quitting is not an option. The difference between winning and losing is never quitting. Losers quit when they’re tired, winners quit when they’ve won. And on it goes, down the slippery slope of disappointment and failure. Clearly, quitting is not your best move. Except sometimes, when it is. Certainly, there are times when quitting can be good, like giving up some bad habits. Quitting something can be the first step towards the road to success.
Neil Sheth (Founder of Only Way Online) quit his job as a successful investment banker in Goldman Sachs in London.
Sarah Grove (Co-Founder at Raw Food Magazine) who quit her job as a kiteboarder to start a successful online health food magazine.
Catherine Wood (Founder & Head Coach of Unbounded Potential) who quit her job as an economist for the federal government to become a life coach.
Mark Zuckerberg (Founder & CEO – Facebook) left his studies at Harvard to focus on a little website he and some friends were working on, a site called Facebook.
All these people are quitters, and all these people are happier, and more successful because of it.
The question to ask yourself
Of course, quitting isn’t for everyone, and at times it can be hard to know if quitting something is even the right decision. To help determine whether quitting something will be beneficial, it is important to ask yourself this very crucial question: “Is what I’m doing helping me get to what I want most?”
Time, ultimately, is finite. So, if you have something you strive towards or something you dream of doing or having, there is a risk that your normal 9-5 job isn’t helping you but hindering your progress and taking up valuable time. That said, quitting does not need to be as drastic as it sounds, you could consider it to merely be you change your direction. Indeed, some successful people stress the importance of building bridges, instead of burning them, staying in touch with the people you worked with instead of moving on from them.
The significance of the question
Life and the world is full of distractions. Unless you’re not fully focused on your goal, it can be easy to lose track of it or run out of time to meet your goals in life.
Have you ever had to cancel something you were looking forward to because work got in the way?
Or put aside time to do something, only to discover that you filled that time doing other, less important things?
You might have even dropped something you were enjoying because you had already put a lot of time into something you weren’t enjoying but didn’t want to see that time wasted. This is an example of sunk cost bias, the mistaken belief that something is worth sticking with just because you invested a lot of time into it, even if you didn’t like it, or enjoy doing it. It is the cause of many bad relationships, hurt feelings, bad books read, and years of wasted time.
The benefits of the question
The above question allows you to take a step back and fully assess what you’re doing. In asking this question you’re also asking yourself:
- “Why am I doing this?”
- “Is this adding value to my life?”
It makes you ask yourself what your goal is and whether what you’re doing is working towards that goal. If the answer to those questions is yes, then fantastic! You’re doing great!
If the answer is no, then maybe you should ask yourself is what you’re doing worth doing if you want to achieve your goal.
There is a much-debated theory that suggests it takes 10,000 hours to truly master something. If this is true, if your goal is, for example, to learn a new language or instrument, then you could be losing a great deal of that time doing something that doesn’t contribute to it at all.
The question reminds you of your true purpose, whatever it may be, it brings it back in focus, and once it is, you’ll be able to better understand how to reach it. To strive for it, and if necessary, quit or drop some unnecessary things to achieve it.
There are times when quitting is sometimes your best move. Here are some reasons why.
1. It saves a lot of unnecessary pain.
If you persevere with that soul-sucking office job, or that college course that someone else chose for you, it’s prolonging the pain. You know it won’t end well so why put yourself through it.
2. It creates space for the right fit.
Ending the pain of what’s not working allows you to free up space and energy to attract the things that are meant for you. It’s saying no to what you don’t want so you can say yes to the things you do.
3. It makes you more committed in the long run
It’s not easy to quit something. It takes courage to make the decision and commit to what you really want next. This shows commitment to your vision; it’s not staying stuck or safe.
4. You refocus and change direction
When you stumble, it just means oops, detour. There’s no quitting, just some tweaking and refocusing in a new direction.
5. It’s a positive move
Quitting tends to be seen as a negative thing, ending in disappointment. But it can be freeing and energizing, propelling you on to the next chapter with more speed and renewed inspiration.
6. It’s courageous
It takes courage to step up and take ownership of your decisions and actions, even when they haven’t turned out as planned. If something doesn’t feel right and is making you unhappy then identifying this is a big step towards moving past it.
7. It doesn’t matter what others think.
I’m sure you know at least one person who stays in a job they don’t like or a relationship that’s no longer working because it’s easy. It’s not easy admitting you have made a wrong choice but at least you’re brave enough to do something about it.
Sometimes carrying on can be the best thing to do. Quitting isn’t always the best option and it’s not something you rush into. But it doesn’t have to end in disappointment. I’ve quit giving myself a tough time over quitting. I never quit, I simply course redirect and keep my eye on the destination.