Sometimes You Have to Quit to Win

How many of you have quit something? You might have left a job or a relationship. You could have stopped a sport or school. No matter what, you quit; you were the one that had to live with your choices. For me, quitting has been a double-edged sword. There were times in my life that I shouldn’t have stopped pursuing my dreams, but I let the fear overwhelm me. I should have walked away from certain relationships years ago, but I have been loyal to a fault and didn’t leave when I should have because I didn’t want to be alone. It’s taken me a long time to recognize that my fears kept me from leaving toxic relationships, jobs, environments, and commitments.  

Success has never come easily to me. I didn’t have confidence in myself, so I quit things I loved. One of the best decisions I ever made was quitting smoking and gymnastics.

When I made up my mind to quit smoking, I had smoked for 17 years. I was a chain smoker and didn’t care what anyone thought. Nor did I care about what I was doing to my body. Instead, I got others around me to smoke and created problems for them and myself. I regret those actions. I started wheezing and coughing a lot. The smoke stench came out of my pores, and my health was taking a nosedive. It was time to either quit smoking or resign myself to cutting my life short. Sometimes it takes the school of hard knocks for us to comprehend the ramifications of our actions fully. It took several attempts to stop smoking, but there was no turning back when I made up my mind. I’ve now been smoke-free since 2004. The decision to quit has made me a winner in the long run. I face asthma now as a result of my actions, but I could be facing worse consequences.  

I watch as many couples quit their relationships. Sometimes those decisions are good ones, and other times they are questionable. Before you walk away, ask yourself why do you want out? Have you fallen out of love with each other? Were you in love with being in love? Or were you in a toxic relationship? Staying in relationships is challenging. I left mine because it was a toxic environment. I never want to feel like I’m not in a partnership with my partner. He made me feel that way. He loved me as much as he could, but the important things to me weren’t important to him. Family meant everything to him as long as it was his side of the family. No relationship is perfect, but if you have someone willing to partner, you might want to ask yourself many questions before walking away. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  

Someone recently asked me why I was so insistent on getting certified in a new field. They asked if I would quit my job once I finished. I don’t know what I’ll do. I see nothing wrong in furthering myself and making myself more viable to other clients. On the other hand, I know I don’t want to sell myself or my skills short of what I’m worth, and while I’m grateful for a job, I don’t want to settle. Traveling the world has made me understand there is a world full of opportunities that await people. Knowing yourself, what you want, what you’re willing to give up, and what you’re eager to gain and grow leads to discovering where and when to quit various chapters in your life.   

Timing is everything. If you have gotten to a point in your life where you aren’t getting what you need out of something, maybe you need to quit doing the same things over and over and find a new direction. One of the biggest problems with stopping is that people automatically assume you fall into a category. Here are some of the things that I’ve heard about myself and others who have quit.

Some common perceptions of quitting:

  1. Quitting means you have failed.
  2. Quitting means you are taking the easy way out.
  3. Quitting means you are not going to be successful.
  4. Quitting means you lack perseverance.
  5. Quitting means you are unclear about what you want.
  6. Quitting means you waste all the effort you’ve put into the task.

Let me be clear. There are lots of reasons that people quit. But, unless you know the entire story of what’s going on with a person, chances are people will jump to conclusions because gossip about others makes them look like they know things they usually don’t know anything about because it’s second-hand information.

One of the reasons I felt compelled to write about this is because I wanted to clear the air about why people quit. Quitting isn’t always the wrong decision. On the contrary, many cases where leaving has been the best outcome for all parties involved. Here are several reasons that may help you understand why people should quit.  

  • When what you are doing is not your passion
  • When you have learned what you needed to learn
  • When there is no added value in continuing on
  • When there’s something better you can be doing instead
  • When you are not utilizing your best talents

If you are dealing with any of these reasons, you might want to consider what your next steps are and should be. We have no guarantees in this world. Use the time to your advantage. If you aren’t happy, how can you quit being miserable and start changing your life the way you want? When we reach crossroads in our lives, we force ourselves to evaluate where we are and where we wish to go in our lives. My hope for you is that you find ways to quit feeling like you don’t matter—everything you do in this world matters. Learn to leave the things that drag you down and embrace the unknown challenges that the world opens up for you. Use the wings you have to fly into a life you love. After all, leaving the things that bog you down helps change your life into a win. Happiness is the ultimate win. Enjoy your day, everyone.  

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