I have talked about the importance of perseverance in previous posts, and how it is necessary for success in any field. But I feel that I also need to talk about the importance of quitting for success as well.
People who have achieved a lot very often talk about how you need to be persistent. They emphasize this so much so that some people misinterpret this and apply it to the wrong things in their life. While it’s true that you need persistence to succeed, it should not be applied to every aspect of your life. There are things which you may need to quit if you are to truly achieve your potential. Because success is just as much about what you don’t do, as well as what you do.
But knowing when to quit something is difficult. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer for this. It’s heavily dependent on the individual and what they are like, what they are passionate about, what they feel is important. Two people could quit the same activity at the same time, and one may have done it for the right reasons and the other not. Or one person could have quit something for a reason, which may have been the correct decision at one time in their life and the wrong decision at another time.
So how do we know when we should quit? How do we know what we should quit?
I think one of the factors to consider is the reason why you started the activity in the first place, and the reason you have been continuing it. If the reason you started is to please someone else, and you do not enjoy it, then it may be something you should quit. If you chose the activity or path because the world told you it was safe and it was the ‘correct’ way, and you find yourself being miserable or bored, then you should consider quitting. If you chose something because you were afraid what others might think if you didn’t, then it could be something that you need to quit.
There are also reasons for which you perhaps shouldn’t quit. For example, quitting something because it is difficult is not likely to be a good idea. Quitting because other people doubt that you can succeed is not a good idea. Quitting because you haven’t had the results you expected is not a good idea.
The reasons mentioned above are not absolute because there may be genuine reasons to quit that coexist with those weaker reasons. As you can see, it’s not a straight forward problem. I guess the main point that I feel is important, is that it is okay to quit when it’s for the right reasons. If your life is silently screaming at you because of a certain activity or path or career, perhaps you need to consider quitting. If you are feeling absolutely unfulfilled, then perhaps you need to quit what you are doing and find something that will make you fulfilled. If you are doing something that is getting in the way of you becoming a better person, perhaps you need to quit and find another way.