You’ve probably heard many times that you should never quit. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again," the popular adage goes so you don't quit.
But, could there be something in your life that you really want to (and probably should) quit? Your mind-numbing, soul-draining job, maybe?
It’s true that the people who succeed are those who get back up on their feet when they fall or are knocked down; they are those who keep going even when the going gets tough.
When you quit, you relinquish your chance to win. And, as yet another popular mantra goes, "Winners never quit and quitters never win."
So, yes, you shouldn’t just give up because something is difficult or taking long to achieve. You have to stick to the plan, stay the course, and never, ever quit—UNLESS…
1. You hate what you do
So many people today work like zombies in jobs and start-ups that they neither enjoy nor excel at. They hate their job for different reason, mainly because they feel unfulfilled and like they are not living their fullest potential or purpose.
If you dread waking up in the morning because you have to face a job you hate, it’s time to explore other areas of your line of work or find something totally new that fulfills you. Life is too short to be miserable.
Find a job you love where your passions meet with your talents and where you get fulfillment serving a greater good. Refusing to set measures in place to quit the job you hate because you’re scared to follow your true passion is not a “reasonable” decision—it’s a cowardly one.
2. You’re doing it for everyone else
Living your life for yourself (not others) is an honorable way to live. Unfortunately, many people live their lives to please others. They take projects, start businesses, choose careers and even pick marriage partners to please their parents, bosses, friends, spouses and even kids.
If you are always trying to please everybody else, often at your own peril, it’s time to reconsider your ways. Back out of other people’s plans for you and run away from dreams that aren’t your own.
It’s your life so live it in the most meaningful way for you. When you do this, you'll give yourself a chance to achieve your fullest potential, be truly happy in your personal and professional life and make the greatest impact in your line of work.
3. You’re only sticking with it to avoid being called a loser or “quitter”
No one likes being called a loser or quitter, but that is not a good reason to keep doing something even when it is clearly not working or is only making you miserable. And while society expects all of us to excel in whatever we undertake, sometimes things just don’t work out.
If something isn’t working, and you’ve given it all you’ve got, don’t let ego stand in your way. Seth Godin says it right, “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”
Remember that when one door closes another door opens. All new beginnings come from closing a chapter of something else.
4. You’re only doing it because you said you would stick with it no matter what
Sometime we stick with things even when it no longer makes sense for us just because we vowed we would stick with it. But, as you may already know, things change. People change. Priorities change. Circumstances change. Life values evolve. New interests arise. That’s the whole essence of growing.
You have to be flexible enough to adapt to changing realities. We all shed layers of ourselves every day as we encounter new people and gain new experiences. There is no shame in leaving your old self behind and embracing the new and better you.
Let go of things that no longer bring you joy and engage in those things that are life-affirming and that help you lean into your purpose and your joy.
5. You’re only doing it because you are comfortable when you do it
Many of us are too comfortable where we are, and too comfortable doing what we do. Our comfort zones feel safe, secure and we like the perks that come with it. But, nothing ever grows in comfort zones. Get out of your comfort zone—your success and growth depends on it.
Mix things up or try something new when you notice you are stagnating. Rather than worry about what you’ll be losing by stepping out of your comfort zone, think about what you’re losing by keeping your hands full of something that only keeps you a float and never propels you forward.
T. Harv Eker makes this point clear when he rightly says, “Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills!”
6. You’re only doing it because someone else is doing it
It’s unfortunate that many of us care too much about what others are doing and what they think about us. So much so that we are constantly comparing ourselves to them and doing things just because others are doing it. Quit that incessant comparison habit.
Most opinions thrown at you and the actions taken by others are arbitrary and have no bearing on your life. You are your own person and you define yourself not by what others say, but by what you believe and the actions you take.
Go for it, if what others are doing is what you truly want, and blessing upon your head. Quit if it is not what you truly want. Either way, proceed armed not with envy and self-delusion, but with knowledge and a plan.
7. You have identified a better option that will support your highest good or the highest potential
Modifying your plan of action or course correcting is hardly a sign of weakness or the mark of a loser. It’s a way to focus your attention on something more effective or more important.
If you’ve identified a more efficient system or way of doing something, it’s okay to quit the current path or find a way to modify the current system or process to better align with the new.
In fact, it is highly advisable to do so. "If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it," says actor W.C. Fields.
Of course, think through carefully the implications for everyone involved to ensure the actions you are considering are indeed the best and most effective means of getting to the desired goal.
8. You are obsessed with it
Obsession in life and business is a bad omen. That’s because obsession is a form of addition. And addiction manifests itself in damaging ways, such as thinking about work every single minute, constantly checking your e-mail, sacrificing time with family and friends, and never feeling at rest.
If your life is completely overrun by work or some other obsession, it’s high time you set some boundaries. This doesn’t necessarily mean quitting your job (though it could), but rather quitting the idea that your value is dependent on achieving something or how busy you are. It’s simply not.
9. You are totally out-of-place
Many of us find ourselves in a place where we look around the landscape of our job, industry or business and realize that not only do we hate our job, but we are totally disconnected from it. It’s the fish-out-of-water feeling. You feel strange and stupid there, and you just don’t belong.
That is not the same as simply feeling uncomfortable. There are many reasons you might feel uncomfortable, say, a particularly negative boss or grumpy client, and not all of them mean quitting is the answer. Again, it’s up to you to figure out what is really going on and why you feel isolated and out of place.
If you discover that you truly don’t belong, the freedom you’ll feel when you get out of there to where you belong is worth it.
10. It just doesn’t feel right
The brain tends to over think and complicate things. It is always looking for the most logical answer. But sometimes the most logical answer isn’t the correct one. That’s where our intuition or gut feeling comes to the rescue. Intuition acts as a buffer against our logical brains. It tells us when something is not right even when it seems right.
If you have a lingering feeling that something is not right and the feeling persists, take note. In fact, lean towards listening to your heart, your gut, your instincts if this gut feeling doesn’t pander to your moods.
Many times we act on a whim and sign up for things that feel great at the time, but later give us a sick stomach when we think of following through. In such cases, a “healthy quit” can get you closer to the "win" that matters—the one that’s worth the rough patches.