“Sometimes you have to let go of everything to gain what God has shaped you for” – Elizabeth Thatcher, when calls the heart.
I’m about to quit my job. I’ve been sitting on my resignation letter for weeks. I’m suffering great conflict over it. I have pages of reasons to leave, move on, let go and Winston Churchill’s voice, “never, never, never, give up.” echoing in my conscience. and suddenly i am back to a stalemate. I fear failure, judgement, a decreased income, and I fear I will lose my self-value; however, In order to have the courage to go through with this, I have to start thinking differently. And I need to stop believing that I’ll be a loser. i have to stop believing that quitters lose.
Quit to Win
Sometimes we quit to win! On occasion quitters do win, and it’s an enormous risk, a leap of faith to quit, a brave thing to do. Which goes against the “flow”, against the direction which most of society travels chanting phrases to deceive mankind into a stale and static existence, the status quo. Sometimes the best thing we can do is quit. And I’m not just talking about quitting the bad habits we have, like smoking or gambling. What about quitting on a dream that’s not going anywhere, or a relationship which is bringing you down, or a job that’s chipping away at your self-esteem and quality of life, and yes even a team if it’s not the ‘right team’, which promotes your gifts , abilities , personality and opportunities. If you need to use a different word, other than quit, use it.
At times the activities we engage in prevent our growth, like a ceramic pot that’s too small for root expansion. Sometimes quitting has a good outcome. It may free you up to start a productive project that lands you the happiest job ever. It is a risk because you cannot see ahead or ensure success, but the question we need to ask: Do you need to let go of one thing in order to make yourself available to a new opportunity? Do you need to quit to win?
Quitting or letting go of something you have invested in can be scary. The thought of what others may think alone, is fearful and what if… ugh the dreaded “what if’s” -that chain you to, present circumstances – good or bad. That phrase ‘what if’ is like a cruel taskmaster in my life, threatening me anytime I dare rise up, with its terrifying weapon of uncertainty. But perhaps I should let uncertainty conceal hope instead of fear, so that I run towards it instead of away.
Quit to grow
I’m the kind of person that likes to finish what I started. Books are rarely abandoned half way through in my world, it feels dirty to give up. I have invested my time and I want to get my money’s worth, but I have discovered that even half the book taught me more than what I knew before, when I stopped learning it’s only natural I would lose interest. We engage mentally as long as something stimulates our growth and curiosity. When we find ourselves continuing in some venture, just because we shouldn’t “ give up”, but inside we have already given up, just bury it and move on, before it buries you and stunts your ability to learn, or takes up time you could be learning in some other capacity.
Quit to finish
Sometimes you have to give up for just a little while, in order to see what’s needed to go on. I paint and I write and those are things I have to put down sometimes in order to get inspired to finish well, know the next step or see it with fresh eyes. There is one painting that I shelved for over a year. It was a painting of three boys fishing at the lake. I got a little more than half way through and I didn’t know how to move forward, instinctively I knew I didn’t have the skill I needed to paint background trees. It lay untouched for a while and then I finally quit. Having it out prevented me from doing any other paintings. Once I gave up it freed me to move on with other paintings, eventually I learned what I needed, and was able to go back and finish the background trees. I didn’t have the information I needed when I started.
In a relationship – from time to time, it’s the quitters that gain more than anyone else. There is no shortage of people that you can connect with, if one relationship isn’t working take a break. Let yourself grow, when we hold on we forfeit growth potential. In a marriage where I wouldn’t encourage quitting altogether, but maybe quit an angle that hasn’t worked, or a choice that always results in the same bad cycle. We have to quit one thing in order to advance to the next. Its hard letting go, but accepting what doesn’t work for you is growth itself. Perhaps you will return to that relationship better, stronger, healthier. We tend to gravitate towards the things we value, but habits have the tendency to trump values. Sometimes it is best to stick it out, knowing the difference is wisdom.
Why do we have to wait until something turns into trash to dispose of it, maybe we can just recycle it, or decide it’s not working for us anymore, it’s still good and might be good for someone else, an old shirt , a home, a community , a job, its ok to let go of good things, in order to gain better things.
Quit to Succeed
I have seen people push themselves so hard they expend their strength, energy, motivation and joy. They experience burn out and end up in total despair. In attempting to succeed they lost sight of what really brings success, joy, and contentment and its not winning. This is practically an epidemic among youth today, pushing themselves academically, and athletically to the point they mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhaust themselves and turn out empty, unhappy and addicted to something harmful. Why? Because society at some point convinced them of an untruth. Quitters never win. The cultures sells lies.
Years ago there was a “night club fire” in RI, it was an awful tragedy. There were so many people who died, and were seriously burned. The news reported that, one of the problems that resulted in so many deaths was the front doors that didn’t open from the inside. Everyone rushed to the EXIT , assuming the way in was the best way out, but the door didn’t open out it opened in. The pile up made it impossible to open. It was the people who looked for other exits and BACK doors who survived, many walked right out of the building unharmed. My point don’t follow the crowd, there is more than one way to win. You can gain the whole world and lose your life. In the end you are no more successful when when you started out. How do you define success?
Freakonomics authors in the upside of quitting write this:
“QUITTING IS HARD IN PART BECAUSE IT IS EQUATED WITH FAILURE, AND NOBODY LIKES TO FAIL, OR AT LEAST BE SEEN AS FAILING, BUT IS FAILING NECESSARILY SO TERRIBLE? FAILURE SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A TOTAL LOSS. FAILURE CAN PROVIDE VALUABLE FEEDBACK. THERE ARE THREE REASONS PEOPLE DON’T QUIT, SUNK COSTS, OPPORTUNITY COSTS AND WINSTON CHURCHILL’S INDOCTRINATION TO SOLDIERS TO, “NEVER GIVE UP”!
THERE IS A HUGE UPSIDE TO QUITTING WHEN DONE RIGHT. HOW MUCH OF YOURSELF ARE YOU SPENDING ON SOMETHING THAT ISN’T WORKING JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE THE IDEA OF QUITTING? WHAT ELSE MIGHT YOU ACCOMPLISH THAT WOULD MAKE YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS LIVES AROUND YOU MORE ENJOYABLE, FULFILLING AND PRODUCTIVE IF YOU WERE NOT SO WORRIED ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE LOSING?” –CHAPTER 9 Think like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt, and Stephn J. Dubne
Let life be an experiment, quit those things which prove impaired so that you can get on with those things that might result in a light bulb moment.
“I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”-Thomas Edison
It’s difficult to quit something, but it doesn’t mean that I’m a loser if I do, it means I have choices and I’m human, and I want to exercise those choices, in order to win, grow, succeed and finish strong. I am not a computer programmed by societal clichés and it’s about time that I quit acting like I am!