I’m proud to be a quitter. There, I said it.
It can be a tough thing to admit, both the quitting bit and being proud of it, but it’s true. I give up quickly. I am a great starter, but not a great finisher. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, I have an inflated sense of what I can achieve which means. This isn’t because of a huge ego, quite the opposite. No matter how busy my life is I tend to think that its all pretty normal and therefore I should be able to cope with a little bit more. Several people recently asked me how I get up every day and get on with everything on my plate, particularly with a child who often doesn’t sleep past 4.30 am. At times I’m juggling a busy communications job, a toddler, parenting solo, ill or infirm relatives, ill health and domestic drama like house sales falling through. The answer is easy, because I’ve always had a pressurised schedule I tend to think it’s all very ordinary. That means if I get carried away with a new project I might start strong but soon realise that there isn’t enough time. So yes, I quit and I’m proud of it. It means I know my limitations and put myself first. Of course, I haven’t quite mastered the art of saying no to new projects or moderate my initial enthusiasm but let’s not ask for the world! Besides, if I quit one thing I can start another. I’m not afraid of failure or trying new things.
Secondly, I bore easily. Whether it’s a new job or a new skill I tend to lose interest once I’ve mastered it. As soon as I’ve figured out how to do something the shine wears off. This also applies to almost mastering something. Like playing a game of chess, once I can run through the potential moves in my head and can see I’m at check mate, it feels like there’s no point playing anymore. I should stress at this point that I don’t actually play chess – it’s one of those metaphor thingies. So quitting means I’ve achieved something already. My goal of learning something has been achieved. It’s time to move on to the next challenge. I always want to be learning and growing.
Thirdly, and related to the last point, is that I also quit when something gets tough. I don’t mean a little bump in the road, but if I’ve persevered at something and it’s causing me more stress than pleasure, I see no reason why I should keep going at it. In my view, there is nothing wrong with saying “I tried this, but it’s not for me.” It’s impossible to be good at everything. We all have different skills, values and experiences, and that’s for a reason. How boring would the world be if we were all the same. All good. There’s nothing worse than the creeping joylessness that comes up with endless attempts to master something which doesn’t pay off. I’m sure you must have felt it with something. Perhaps it’s a job that you started at, all guns blazing, but then you ran out of steam or discovered that while you like the role, the company might not be a good fit. Perhaps, it’s a fitness craze of diet that you started but soon quit, or a musical instrument that you wanted to learn but quickly discovered that it was harder than you thought. Give yourself permission to quit and move onto the next challenge that will make you happy. Perhaps you’re just not “getting it” because it’s not your thing to get.
Now of course there’s somethings that you shouldn’t quit, like brushing your teeth or caring for your children, but there are very few things in life you absolutely have to do and can only be done by you.
Am I wrong to be okay with being a quitter? Why do we frown on people changing their mind or taking a change in direction anyway? Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear about the things you’ve quit and are pleased you did, or the things you stuck at and which paid off.
Supporting these fabulous blogs