Everyone is familiar with the phrases quitters never win and winners never quit. However, I think everyone also knows this is not always the truth.
There are numerous things that need to be quit. Plenty of less-than-stellar habits like smoking, excess drinking, overeating, being overly judgmental and such. There are other behaviors that one might consider quitting, like always talking over others, low self-opinion, inactivity and such.
What is the relation of quitting to Pathwalking? Accepting that, sometimes, you need to quit one thing to start another.
This is not a simple notion, however. Before you quit something, unless you know it’s a habit that gets in your way of living the fullest life, or a relationship that makes you miserable, you need to consider if you are quitting because you are afraid, if you are quitting because you have tried and failed too many times, or if you are quitting because you know it is time to move on.
Quitting when you are afraid is surprisingly common. Every single self-help, holistic book I have read or listened to has addressed just this. At the cusp of realizing one’s dream, at that point where, despite not seeing results you are just about to manifest what it is you have been striving after…you call it quits. You throw up your hands, and get angry and declare, “This stuff is crap! I give up!” Often, this is the result of fear.
Twin fears are usually at play here. The fear of failure, equal to the fear of success. You are afraid to fail, and when you have put a lot of time and effort and heart and soul into something and you are not seeing any results, it can be hugely frustrating. You become discouraged, and you get tired of all the effort. Despite knowing you have made good choices, despite feeling it to your core that this is where you are supposed to be going…you call it, and walk away. Instead of failing, you end it on your own terms, and quit.
This seems like an emotionally solid option, but it’s not. In time, you will probably find yourself wondering what could have been…or even restarting the process and having to work to and through that same point again.
On the other side of this coin, you are at that same point, so close to victory you can almost taste it, but so frustrated with all the effort you’ve expended…and yet, you begin to question what happens if you succeed? How will other people react? How will this affect my relationships? How might this change me? How will this REALLY make me feel? What if I prove I am right, and I get what I want? Oh no, I might succeed, and with success there might be consequences…so you call it, and walk away. Instead of succeeding and experiencing the change success might bring, you end it on your own terms, and quit.
This may bring emotional relief to the fear of what might have been, but odds are you will soon find yourself questioning why you gave up. Why didn’t you see it through? What were you afraid of? The fear of success is less familiar than the fear of failure to most people, but it can be equally if not more crippling.
Quitting out of fear is no reason to quit. Especially when most of your fears are intangibles that can do little to no harm.
Quitting when you have failed too many times is a double-edged sword. Similar to quitting out of fear, just because you have tried and failed a dozen times doesn’t necessarily mean you should quit. Many of the greatest minds in this world tried and failed dozens of times before they succeeded. Sometimes it’s a matter of changing your approach, sometimes it’s a question of timing, and sometimes you are missing that one, small necessary thing, but on the five-thousandth try you will make it fly.
I have had my writing rejected by at least two or three dozen agents and publishers. I didn’t quit writing, and instead turned to self-publishing to put my work out there. Now I am trying to promote my work and increase sales, but though I have tried many many methods to make this happen, I have not quit, and have no intent of doing so.
Now here’s the other edge of that same sword. Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” You keep taking the same steps, thinking the same thoughts, putting forth the same actions, and making the same efforts over and over again, and over and over again you do not get the result you desire. Maybe you give it a small tweak here, a slight adjustment there, but nonetheless you are doing the same exact thing again and again and again.
This takes a great deal of self-awareness. You have to really analyze this thing you have been doing, and decide if maybe, just maybe, it is time to call it quits and move on. This is a very hard action to take, because it may ultimately make you feel like you’ve expended a lot of effort for nothing…but sometimes it is the best choice, in order to take a new and more useful path.
Which leads to quitting because you know it is time to move on. Maybe that job is just not right for you anymore. Maybe this relationship is no longer healthy. Maybe you’ve come to realize that the goal you have been striving for is not really what you want. Maybe being happy is more important to you than being acceptable to others. Whatever the case may be, situations can arise where it is in your best interest to quit. Often this gets drawn out, and frequently we seriously question if this is wise, but in general when you quit in this manner you become relieved, and you open up new channels to the life you most want.
Quitting should seldom be the first answer. But there is no shame in walking away from a path that will not suit you, and that will not make you happy. Sometimes winners win because they quit something that, ultimately was in fact a loss.
Is there anything you have quit, or might need to quit to create the life you most desire to live?
GOAL LOG – Week 27:
Diet: I am still eating well, and still eating far less bread and pasta and the like while continuing to keep away from candy and other sugars of that sort.
Exercise: Fencing happened twice last week. Dog sitting continues, which meant there were several, daily long walks, of two to four miles each. Much exercise, but no trips to the gym.
Writing: One day of editing. It’s better than none at all.
Meditation: Two days of meditation, at least 5 minutes each day.
Gratitude: I wrote out 5 things to be grateful for every day last week.
This is the two-hundred thirty-seventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life. I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.
Thank you for joining me. Feel free to re-blog and share.
The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.
If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.