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January 25, 2014

When Quitting Serves a Purpose. ~ Amy Cheever

We all share this common yet miraculous ability to quickly notice when things suck.

And we’ve all heard that quitting is bad, and quitters never win, so never ever quit. Never? Is there ever a time when quitting is a good thing?

The gym is a good example of a place where things can get difficult.

After the first 45 minutes of Zumba class, you are sweating and unable to side-kick any higher, no matter how loudly the bandana-crazed drill sergeant yells. Someone in the back row is entirely hogging the fan and there is a deep desire to empty a water bottle over your head. Or pass out. Whichever happens first is fine.

Another example is being “stuck” in a crappy job. Your desk has been moved to the basement and you’re working overtime on a dreadful project. The boss passes by and blithely waves hello to the wall next to you, as if he finds the two indistinguishable. If he asked how it was going, you’d probably feel compelled to say everything is great! But an honest answer would be closer to,  “Well Bob, I haven’t yet gouged out my eyes with salad spoons…partially because I am an optimist, but mainly because I just don’t carry around salad spoons.”

Start, we should ask ourselves why we are doing it. What do we get out of it, and how is that good for us? Working out is an easy one—the benefits are being healthy, feeling and looking good. The dreadful job, you might say, is necessary to pay the rent and that gym membership. But perhaps it is not necessary to do that particular soul-stomping job in order to make a living.

Which option serves us best? When are we doing ourselves a favor by quitting, as opposed to depriving ourselves of an opportunity to contribute to our overall happiness?

Two people in the same circumstances can end up with opposite conclusions. The difference is not the situation, but the choice. Our butts might be sore the next day, but we choose to take Zumba because we love fitting into those skinny jeans, feeling healthier, or enjoying the after cardio high. A best friend might also love skinny jeans but despises Zumba and anything resembling a gym, so chooses to fit in them solely through diet.

That job is making us miserable and we don’t care about the work. So why do it? Start looking for a better way to earn money that not only doesn’t stress you out, but that you actually enjoy! Sometimes when the going gets tough, the tough really do get going. As in, out-the-door. Goodbye.

Another way to look at our choices is to ask ourselves whether we are quitting because we are moving toward something better, and not simply reacting to temporary difficulty by running away from it.

We must have a goal that is exciting to us—a definite destination. There are many avenues to choose from to get where we want to be.  As Lewis Carrol said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

We are not confined to taking the miserable path through the basement office.

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Assistant Editor: Melissa Horton/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: provided by author

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Amy Cheever