Why Quitting is Sometimes The Smart Choice
Why does quitting feel like SUCH a dirty word most of the time?
Sure quitting smoking and eating sticks of butter dipped in sugar are viewed as good things, but when it comes to quitting at work or sports or even making a dress for your cat so he can look lovely... you get this kind of gut wrench and a series of ruminating thoughts that just make the whole thing decidedly not ok.
Maybe that's our competitive side coming out. Maybe it's just all the movies and stories and interviews with famous people we've digested over our lives that portray quitters as losers.
But, no matter what it is, it affects us and it makes quitting - even when it's probably the best thing you could do - feel like a complete betrayal of all that you know and love.
We're living proof though that's not true and we want to say that quitting is sometimes a great choice.
Sure, if it becomes a habit, if it's your knee jerk reaction every time something gets a bit tough, you may want to do a bit of internal soul searching as to why. But, if you're in a situation that truly sucks or doesn't seem like it's going to pan out the way you NEED it to, then don't be afraid to call a spade a spade and move on.
Quitting isn't about failure. It's about not getting lost in a tidal wave of shoulds and supposed tos and being with it enough that you can say, "I need to take this in a different direction".
We're big fans of the Bon Appétit YouTube channel and there is one series where they get Clair Saffitz to try and reproduce completely artificially made foods like Starbursts and Cheetos. This is... sometimes an impossible task and you're very often forced to watch Ms. Saffitz go through every emotion that someone who wants to quit experiences.
Most of the time she rallies after a particularly defeating day and adjusts her approach. Sometimes she doesn't though and we don't watch because we're sadists who like to watch people fail, we watch because it teaches us that the defeated, guilty, incredibly neggy emotions involved with quitting are often very personal and silly.
No one else is making fun of us or thinks less of us. People still love us and respect us. The rest of our lives don't come crashing down around us and, in fact, most of that negativity is just a form of self-punishment. Something we do to ourselves out of guilt, sadness, and habit.
If we focused more on what we learned from an experience and how that informs the next step we take, rather than self-flagellating ourselves for how much we've let everyone and thing down, then quitting would be an entirely new experience.
While it's probably impossible (and for good reason) to ever feel truly comfortable with quitting, we can change our habits around it. We can learn to be easier on ourselves and have more respect for how challenging some things really are. We can choose to view these upsets as teachable moments and direct our ruminating thoughts to consider what went wrong so we have a better plan next time.
If you could take one step towards doing this, we suggest you just start paying attention to how often other people quit and what happens to them when they do. The media landscape shows a pretty skewed perspective on quitting, so go out and find your own real-life examples because those are what really count.
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