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February 25, 2022

When To Quit

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No one likes a quitter, right? We’ve been taught for so many years to never quit, to never give up, and to always persevere. We’ve created a culture that looks down on people who don’t follow through and locks people into sticking with things much longer than they’d like to and should.

I’m certainly not endorsing that you should give up and quit any time you feel like it, but I do want to share some of the misconceptions we have about quitting and ways we should be thinking about it differently.

The implication of quitting is that when you quit, things are done for good. It’s all for naught. All that effort and time put into it is wasted. That’s simply not true because of the development and growth you experienced while pursuing it. But even so, when people quit it usually isn’t a full-stop. It usually leads to a change of course or a transition.

What’s interesting is this double-standard we’re facing - On one hand we’re told to persevere and work through it, and on the other hand we’re told to be receptive to feedback, and that we need to constantly innovate or change our processes to get better. I think people are reluctant to make changes because of their strong associations with the idea of quitting. But if what you’re doing isn’t working then you should stop doing it. Do we call that quitting? I’d argue we do more often than we should, and it keeps people from making forward progress. 

So what I propose is that we should view quitting through a different lens that doesn’t have such a strong label. Oftentimes quitting is actually just pivoting, reprioritizing, or transitioning. You need to know what’s serving you and what’s not, and have the confidence to try something new.

Let’s bring this concept into your life right now - What do you feel like ‘quitting' that should actually be viewed through the lens of transitioning or reprioritizing?

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