We all hate quitting things. Quitting makes you feel like a failure. Like you’ve lost. We all have goals in our lives, things we want to achieve. We’re asked “Where do you want to be in five years time?” Everything we do is working towards something. We’re inundated with Motivation Monday and Throwback Thursday to see how far we’ve come. But surely the best way to move forward is to start quitting, not stop.

I had this thing until recently where I had to finish a book. Even a book I’d already got a third of the way through and still hated. I felt I had to get cover to cover. I had to find out what happened. What was the writers point to this book? I would struggle, sometimes for weeks over the same one. I would procrastinate and do something else. Instead of reading on the train I’d listen to music.

Martyrdom

I was being a martyr. So many people now moan on about doing things they don’t enjoy, but keep on doing them. I heard on a TED talk recently that 74% of American’s don’t enjoy what they’re doing at work, and us Europeans aren’t far behind. We’re miserable for the majority of our day. This has become the norm. But because we hate to quit, we’ll keep on being miserable. We would rather let people see us suffer than being a quitter. It makes us feel strong that no matter how bad things are we keep going.

This is insane. I have been there myself, I nearly had a mental breakdown at my last company. But I still felt bad when I left. I felt I was letting them down, and myself. If only I’d given it another month. Really poured myself into it. Enthused my team and given them drive to be their best. I could have loved it again. I could have enjoyed my job as much as I had the previous few years. But things weren’t the same. I wasn’t the same. And this is what we need to realise.

Quitting is change

Things change. Sometimes we change so that we don’t even want the things we strived for before. You end up driving yourself crazy for something you don’t even want any more. Something you loved doing you now can’t stand.

This is why quitting is actually brilliant. You just have to learn the art of it. Think to yourself- Is this thing I’m doing giving me joy, or making me miserable? How would it feel to carry on for months, years, decades to complete what I set out to? And how does that compare to the feeling I’d get from quitting? Walking away from this dread? If the thing you’re working towards won’t help you on your path to something you truely value, there is no point in doing it. It will not fulfill you.

Quitting is replacement

I’m happy to say that now after 100 pages of a book, if I’m still not enjoying it I can throw it to one side and pick up something else. Rather than waste months not reading things I don’t like, I’ve got through loads of books that I loved.

It’s not quitting, or giving up. You’re not a failure. You’re learning about yourself and using that knowledge to be able to replace the current to find something better.

Imagine what you’re missing out on striving over that thing you hate. Evaluate, take the time to make the right decision, and then go for it. Quit that thing that’s draining you and make way for better things.

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