Quitting seems to be a way of life for so many people. How many teenagers do you know who quit school a few months before graduation? Look up and down your street – how many divorced people live around you? Did you ever get so mad at your boss that you walked off the job?
What’s with all the quitting?
You’ve heard the old saw, “Quitters never win and winners never quit,” but does it always apply? Sometimes we MUST quit. Sometimes we have no choice.
Like Terry Fox, who started to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research running on a prosthesis on his amputated leg. After several thousand miles his run was interrupted by a massive attack of more cancer and he was forced to suspend his run and died soon thereafter.
Like the lady who worked valiantly to save her marriage but her husband refused to cooperate and ran off with another woman.
Like the various times in your and my lives when we could not see our way out of the ditch into which we had driven ourselves so we slammed on the brakes and just sat there for awhile.
However, the times we are forced to quit are far fewer than those times when we just give up.
From the moment we begin a challenging project, the reasons to quit come flying in our face. It’s too hard, it will take longer than planned, it costs more than we can afford, it looks bleak ahead, the numbers don’t add up, are only a few of the “reasons” we think we must quit.
Then there is the fear of failure or the fear of success. And of course, there is fatigue, or maybe it is laziness. And oh yes, doubt – especially self-doubt.
So how do you separate the emotional and intellectual conflict between quitting and persevering?
It begins with a clear definition of your “why”. Why you are doing what you are doing? If the “why” is clear and righteous and worthy, then the “how”, though perhaps to be interrupted, altered or delayed, will always find a way.
Throughout any project, two choices will be constant: persevere or quit.
The question I ask is this: Can the point at which your strength wanes be changed? Can your ability to persevere a little longer be extended? Can you increase your mental and physical resilience for the sake of your “why”?
The answer is yes – as long as you go back the next day for more. The answer is yes – as long as you accept that there are times of progress and times of regression in every project.
You may have to quit short of your goal more often than you want, but you never give up on your “why”. You take every experience in the process as a learning experience and you do what has to be done to build within you the resilience you need to persevere.
And remember this: the likelihood of defeating yourself is much greater than being defeated by something or someone else. It is possible you may need to quit a hundred times before you gain the knowledge, skills and experience to succeed on the 101st.
That is when quitters win.
©2015 Ronald D. Ross
- 5.3: A Purposeful Life Creates Perseverance Power
- 5.5: The Reward of Perseverance