Most view the thought or concept of quitting as giving up on your dreams or being a failure.
Read on before thinking I’m advocating for blindly quitting when things get tough… that’s not the case. The reality is the act of quitting, specifically knowing when to quit, is necessary to reach extraordinary levels of success and happiness. Let’s first consider why we are taught to never quit.
From a young age we are taught to never quit. Our school teachers, our parents, our coaches, etc, all instilled a blanket statement of “Don’t be a quitter”. The reality is a slippery slope with a ton of nuance.
For example, I loved basketball, and was damn good at it. However when I got to High School, I was shorter and slower than most of the athletes. It was around that time my parents, instead of forcing me to not quit, supported me in exploring surfing and entrepreneurship. I’m so happy I did that, instead of sticking with basketball, which I had zero shot at reaching ultimate success with it.
Motivational speakers and gurus alike will say to never quit on your dreams! How much of that is a feel good statement vs. a bias statement so you don’t quit on paying them?
Here’s the reality… knowing when to quit is a necessary skill if you ever want to reach the pinnacle of your version of success, whether its health, wealth, relationships, etc. That being said… it is a SKILL… and the skill is all about when is the RIGHT time to quit. Not just when things get tough. Not just when adaptation or an adjustment is needed.
No, the right time to quit is when you realize you can’t get significantly better… when you realize you have personally peaked, but are not close to peaking in the space itself. Another example is you see a dead end at the end of the tunnel… perhaps automation is coming and you’ll never beat a robot.
Would Michael Jordan ever have become Air Jordan if he didn’t quit baseball? Would Elon Musk have moved on to Tesla, etc, if he didn’t know when the right time to sell PayPal and move on?
I’m not saying quitting is good… what I am saying is quitting one thing because you can be better and get further ahead in another is necessary and a skill we must all work on.
This requires ultimate discipline, having your ego in check, and having the humility to know that even if you give your best, some things are just not meant to be, while other things are sitting there… waiting… for you to focus on because you can be one of the very best.
Speaking of quitting and re-aligning focus to become great at something else, this week’s episode of the podcast featured Logan Freeman, ex-NFL athlete turned superstar Commercial Real Estate Broker, Investor and Developer. He shared how he realized he would never be one of the very best and instead of forcing it on the fringe, he made a switch and is having tremendous success.
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PS: There will always be stories of those that probably should have quit, but kept pressing, and became a phenomenal success story. Athletes like James Harrison, or Founders like Jeff Bezos, come to mind. This is why there is a lot of nuance. Just tell yourself, its OK to analyze and consider quitting, to pursue or make an adjustment that can send you further on your path. Don’t quit just to quit, quit to be better at something else.