I’m A Loser And A Failure, A Quitter And A Dud.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It would be so painfully boring, so monotonously generic, if I sat here and listed all the things I was wonderful at (and, as you saw in a previous post, this would also be a blatant lie).
Perhaps I could magic up some Google motivation and throw some phrases at you like ‘quitters never win, and winners never quit’ or perhaps ‘the struggle is temporary, but quitting lasts forever’.
The first thing I decided to quit was…resorting to Google whenver I needed to get myself out of a psychological crisis. I do, however, recommend flicking to the search engine on occasions such as when my ‘friend’ slipped in the shower and accidentally got a carrot stuck inside himself. But that’s a story for another day.
Empty motivational phrases are not only of little use when it comes to getting us out of a sticky situation, but they can also do more harm than good.
Quitting Is For Losers?
So ‘winners never quit’, do they? Does this mean if someone wanted to quit a job and follow a dream,
Or quit an abusive, constrictive relationship.
Or quit a group of so-called friends who were leading them down the wrong path in life.
Or quit a race when they were injured and risked doing long-lasting damage to themselves.
Would they, therefore, be giving up their chance of being seen as ‘winners’?
Of course not.
We tend to put up with a lot more misery than we really should, because we don’t want to be seen as ‘quitters’. We hate to be perceived as ‘giving up’, ‘walking away’ or – whisper it – ‘failing’ in a marriage, job, friendship, challenge, or whatever else may be occupying our life at that particular moment.
25% of British workers are unhappy in their job, but they don’t want to quit.
Six out of 10 couples in America are unhappy in their marriages, but they don’t want to quit.
After all, quitting is for losers. And it seems a lot of people prefer to be seen as an unhappy winner than a happy loser.
There’s An ‘I’ In Quit
But here’s what people tend to overlook when they are so determined to avoid being labelled as a quitter:
Sometimes quitting – not to mention losing, failing and spectacularly imploding – can be the absolute BEST thing that a person can do.
Quitting an uninspiring college degree didn’t work out too badly for Bill Gates.
Quitting Zurich Polytechnic School seemed to go alright for Albert Einstein.
Quitting the US Army probably wasn’t the worst idea Walt Disney ever had
And quitting an unhappy, controlling marriage arguably was the best idea J K Rowling ever conceived. I’m sure Harry Potter and his chums are glad she did. As is her bank manager.
Quitting does have to mean ‘failing’.
Quitting is putting ourselves first. Quitting is saying, “I am no longer prepared to tolerate this situation”. Quitting is telling the world, “I deserve better than this, so I am going to do what I need to do so I can live to fight another day”.
I see no failure in this. I see not a loser, only a person who is determined to focus their energy in a different direction.
I Just Can’t Quit You
The times I’ve quit; the many occasions I’ve lost; the moments I’ve come up short.
I used to desperately hide these incidents like a teenage boy fumbling to close a website with one hand when they hear a parent outside their bedroom door.
I was worried these blotches on my copybook of life would make me less appealing, less successful and more like…a bit of a loser.
But then I realised something that a million Google motivational quotes could not teach me:
Sometimes, quitting, failing and messing up is absolutely the right thing. It takes us to new places, careers, relationships and adventures. It is what needs to happen.
And maybe we don’t realise it immediately. Perhaps we see red, storm out, say and do things that can’t be undone. But everything happens for a reason.
Gates, Disney, Einstein, Rowling (there’s a dinner party to remember) didn’t know their futures were going to turn the way they did. They just knew, in that moment, they had to take some massive action, pull a handbrake turn and take their lives in a different direction.
And we’ve all been there: When it feels like all is lost, in that daunting, head-spinning, crisis point when we have no idea how it’s going to work out…but at the same time we are absolutely, 100% certain that the purpose and destiny of our lives isn’t this.
Of course, it would be remiss of me to say the answer to everything is to quit and walk away.
For every Walt, JK, Bill and Albert, there are hundreds of thousands of souls who are destined never to reach their true potential because they quit too soon, too fast or too deeply.
Or is there?
Because I believe there is a difference between quitting and giving up.
Giving up is what we do when the going gets tough, when things get too hard or we find the situation just a tad more difficult than we imagined. Giving up is when we tell ourselves that our dreams are destined to remain nothing more than figments of our imagination.
Quitting is when we decide to remove something from our lives because of our dreams. Quitting is when we realise the time has come to focus on what we really want our future to be, and remove what is stopping us from getting there.
There is a reason we ‘quit’ drinking, smoking, drugs, bullying bosses and belittling partners.
We don’t quit to lose. We quit to WIN.
Quit Lying To Yourself
So the next time you have the feeling you need to quit something in your life, don’t drown that instinct in empty motivational phrases that belong in a cheap frame on the wall of a nondescript office in 1995.
I’ve quit plenty of things that were causing me pain, and I’ve never regretted it. And if that makes me a loser then I’m all the happier for it.
And if you voice your urge to quit, and some smartarse fires a phrase at you such as, ‘no-one likes a quitter’, then lift your head and smile.
Because I’d welcome the opportunity to be disliked for walking away from a situation that was causing me pain, if it means I like the person I see in the mirror every day.
So if you’ve thought about it, weighed up the options, let your head and your heart go the full 12 rounds of internal debate and then slept on it one more time…and you still believe the right thing to do is quit, then go for it.
Just make sure you always quit for bigger, better and happier things.