Quitting To Win

Man having victory

(Image: Japheth Mast)

When you hear the word ‘quit,’ what do you think of?

Many of us have been brought up with the notion that quitting is bad. We are constantly told that quitting is bad and quitting is for losers.

Some common perceptions of quitting:

  1. Quitting means you have failed.
  2. Quitting means you are taking the easy way out.
  3. Quitting means you are not going to be successful.
  4. Quitting means you lack perseverance.
  5. Quitting means you are unclear about what you want.
  6. Quitting means you waste all the effort you’ve put into the task.

By quitting or even talking about wanting to quit, you are automatically labeled with any or all of the statements above. Because of these stigmas, people treat the idea of quitting with great resistance. It has become a dreaded ‘Q’ word. They do everything to avoid quitting and press on till the end.

After all, we often hear about how the most successful people achieve their goals because they never quit. They persevered, toiled through hardship, and overcame trials and tribulations to attain great accomplishments. Top it off with quotes like “There’s only one thing that can guarantee our failure, and that’s if we quit,” or “Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit,” and this affirms that we should never, ever quit.

The Fallacy of Not Quitting

The ability to persevere and not quit is a commendable trait. However, it is a huge problem when people become obsessed with the notion of not quitting for the sake of not quitting. For example, when people equate all forms of quitting with losing. When they refuse to quit just because they want everything to be perfect (one of the traits of a perfectionist). When their desire not to quit is driven by a fear of what quitting means to others.

What Quitting Really Means

Yet, what is quitting, really? If we look at quitting as an objective act, it means to stop and to let go (of what you are doing). You quit a task = you stop and let go of it. That’s all that it means.

Everything else that has become associated with quitting is just a subjective representation. While they do hold true in some ways, they depend on the context of the situation. Many negative connotations of quitting have been created by society over time, to push people to fit into a mold.

Conscious Quitting

There are situations when quitting does not mean losing. This is when to quit means to win. Some examples are:

  • When what you are doing is not your passion
  • When you have learned what you needed to learn
  • When there is no added value in continuing on
  • When there’s something better you can be doing instead
  • When you are not utilizing your best talents

Here, the worst thing u can do is to continue. The worst thing you can do is not quitting. Here, not quitting is really, to lose.

Instead of clinging on to every task for the sake of being “persistent,” we need to practice what I call conscious quitting. Conscious quitting means assessing a situation based on how meaningful it is to you so that you can decide whether to quit or not.

Let’s examine the 6 misconceptions of quitting:

Misconception #1: Quitting means you have failed

Not at all. If you are quitting tasks that are not meaningful, you are indeed opting to lose… in the tasks that do not matter. Does it matter whether you lose or win in these tasks? No, of course not! You want to lose in the tasks you DON’T CARE about so that you can WIN BIG in the tasks you CARE about. It seems to me that you only really lose if you invest your time in things that are meaningless to you.

Misconception #2: Quitting means you take the easy way out

Not necessarily true. When you quit, you give up what you have done. You give up what you have invested. You have to go against societal stigmas and the people around you to stay true to yourself. It is actually a harder task than not quitting. Maintaining the status quo and not quitting is sometimes the easier way out.

Misconception #3: Quitting means you are not going to succeed

Not at all. Conscious quitting is all about achieving success in your life.

Firstly, it is important that you do not confuse success in the task you are doing, with success in life. What constitutes success in a particular task does not mean equate with success for a particular goal. Subsequently, what gives you success for a certain goal may not lead you to your desired success in life. 

The kind of success you want to see in your life is success in what you are passionate about, not success in every nitty gritty task. It is success in what you love. To achieve that, you need to quit the things you are not passionate about so that you work on things you ARE passionate about — your big rocks. Quitting helps you to take control of your time so that you can achieve your definition of success. If you spend all your time doing things you dislike and putting off the things you love, you are never going to see your passions come to fruition, ever.

Misconception #4: Quitting means you lack perseverance or discipline

Sure, sticking in a task you dislike can help you strengthen skills like perseverance, self-discipline, etc. But these are same soft skills that can be cultivated while pursuing any other goal. Every task we undertake tests a certain facet of our skills. Everything we do has its own set of challenges. Strengthening these skills are not exclusive to this task you are holding on to.

In fact, it is by pursuing what you really love that you become the best person you can be. When you are driven by love, you will be motivated to tackle the biggest obstacles. Being motivated by passion makes you want to do your best and achieve your highest potential.

Misconception #5: Quitting means you are unclear about what you want

Quite the opposite. Conscious quitting occurs because you know precisely what you want. You can’t quit unless you know what you want. This isn’t fickle; this is about being loyal to your passion and yourself. If you choose to remain in this task despite knowing there is something else you rather be doing, that’s being fickle.

Misconception #6: Quitting means you waste the money and resources that have been invested in the task

The resources you have invested thus far have helped you realize that this is not for you. They are not wasted because they have helped you to learn this lesson. If you have never tried, you wouldn’t have known that this is not for you. On the other hand, if you choose to stay on after realizing that something is not for you, then that’s wasting time and money.

Quitting In My Life

There have been many times when I made the conscious decision to quit. Below are some examples:

  • I quit my job to pursue my life passion and start my coaching business.
  • I have quit business partnerships and collaborations because my partners had fundamentally different values than me.
  • I quit toxic relationships.
  • I opt out of non-constructive activities to spend time on the important things.
  • I once took a tennis course which I quit after a few lessons. After trying it out, I realized that I have no passion for the sport. Even though full payment has been made and my payment was non-refundable, I felt that continuing with the lessons was a bigger waste in terms of my time.

Conscious quitting has helped me live a much more fulfilling life than if I had not quit.

Quitting To Win

What are the things you should quit today to win big? Some examples:

As the CEO of your life, you need to make hard decisions on what to cut out so that you can focus on your big rocks. Real life CEOs face that every day, making tough calls on which divisions to sell, who to lay off, products to discontinue, etc. so that the company’s resources can be channeled into the most important areas to generate long-term success.

How about you? What are the hard decisions in your life? Are you lingering on in negative relationships or pointless engagements? What do you need to quit today to make way for the important things?

Read: How To Choose Your Battles and Fight For What Matters