When To Call It Quits

Submitted by ub on Tue, 05/31/2016 - 18:40

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run.
You never count your money,
When you’re sittin’ at the table,
There’ll be time enough for countin’,
When the dealing's done.”
~ Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”

One of my students was facing a dilemma: After realizing that classes were uninteresting and a waste of limited time, a pile of other more engaging and tempting projects were calling out for attention.

This person finally confided in me: I'm just not a good student. Excited about diving into one of them, only to find that suddenly and inexplicably finding a feeling of extremely guilt. Why?

The culture where this scholar comes from is really uptight about winning. People who quit are looked upon as losers. And, so, quitting translated into a failure and this feeling of guilt arrives whenever they don’t finish something.

Always finish what you start.
Don’t be a quitter.
No pain, no gain.
Never give up.
Winners never quit and quitters never win.
Quitters are losers.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” (Thomas Edison)
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.” (Muhammad Ali)
“If you quit ONCE it becomes a habit. Never quit!!!” (Michael Jordan)

For those of us who grew up with parents, teachers, coaches, and other authority figures drilling these mantras into our heads, no wonder we feel guilty when we decide not to continue with something project, or task.

But when is it acceptable to quit? How do we know when it’s better to cut our losses and move on? What about what causes us to dig ourselves into a deeper hole? How do we decide when to drop something and when to persevere? How do we determine whether to give something or someone a second or third or tenth chance vs. when to say, “that’s it…enough is enough”?
And, is there a difference between “quitting” and “being a quitter”? YES, YOU BET!!!

I’ve quit jobs that weren’t working out, and I’ve ended romantic relationships and marriages that were dysfunctional. I’ve walked out of many a bad performance and films. And I quit lessons when I realized that I wasn’t interested. I recently quit eating certain types of foods loaded with sugar and carbs, and replaced them with nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

So to be clear, I’m not talking about quitting on a person who is relying on you, walking out on someone, leaving a project half-way done, or storming out of the office while crooning the old country song, “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t workin’ here no more.”

I’m talking about when you reach a point where, after meditation, thoughtful consideration and deliberation you’ve made the well-thought-out, carefully considered final decision that it’s time to move on. Just do it and stay positive.

Adios, so long, hasta la vista, sayonara, 再見 Zàijiàn, seeya, bientôt, adiosi, bisbald, ciao, 回頭見