Why It's OK to Quit

As a child my father used to always to tell me that quitters were weak. When you hear this at a very young age you begin to internalize it and strive for perfection in everything you do. I pushed myself to get good grades and excel in athletics. Later I pushed myself in college and then graduate school with the goal to eventually go to medical school. Even in relationships, I probably stayed in some situations longer than I should have because I believed that if I gave my very best that everything would work out. It took many years for me to realize that I couldn't be perfect. I had to do the very best that I could and feel good about that.

As a society we're told to never quit. We are taught to keep going even if its too difficult, its not your gift or talent. We pursue our weaknesses relentlessly always trying to improve them instead of focusing on our strengths, natural talents and abilities. When we focus on things that don't come naturally to us, be do ourselves a disservice because we never truly master those things that we're good at.

Thomas Edison said "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." While this may be true, there are times when you need to give up and quit. But quitting doesn't mean failure. Not everything is for you and you have to recognize when you have done all you can. Doing more may not yield the positive result you're looking for. When we continue to work on things, stay in places that don't serve us well, we ultimately become disenchanted or even bitter.

One of my favorite little books, The Dip by Seth Godin discusses how there are times when it's appropriate to quit. Perhaps you're not operating in your natural gifts in your career. Or maybe you're no longer passionate about a project you've worked on and did all you can do. We have to understand that just because we've mastered something we don't have to stay keep doing it.

Here are six reasons why it's ok to quit.

  1. You're unhappy-The relationship, the job, or whatever you've committed to just doesn't cut it anymore. You walk around thinking about what life would be like if you could just escape from your situation.

  • You're frustrated- You've tried to fix the situation but realize there is no true solution and you have no confidence that things will change. Round and round the mulberry bush you go, but still end up at the same place.
  • You're physically or emotionally spent- The stress is causing you to lose weight, or gain weight from emotional eating. Depression sets in and you no longer receive joy from the things that used to bring you pleasure.
  • You're staying for the wrong reasons-Instead of leaving the job, or the relationship you stay in fear because you think you wont be able to find a better job or person.
  • You've mastered it-You've done the best you can and there's no other place to go but away.
  • You've invested more than enough-Don't fall prey to the idea that you cant quit because you've spent too much time or money on a situation. If it doesn't work, putting more time and money into it isn't going to change it.
  • Sometimes we have to quit so we can move forward into the best situations of our lives. Then we see that quitting is worth it.