It was during one of the most peaceful and leisurely afternoons of my life that I was violently slapped across the face with an idea that has changed me forever. I was leading a group of young girls through a yoga flow that proved to be far beyond most of their capabilities. The trained yoga teacher in me was mentally devising several modifications to offer to the girls so they could do their best to hold the positions. However, the human being in me who has been on the other side of the desk, the wrong part of the yoga mat, and the bottom of the ladder wanted me to tell the girls to quit. The words were coming out of my mouth before I had decided whether or not it was a good idea.
“If this isn’t working for you, feel free to quit. Do not merely give up or exhaust your efforts in trying if it doesn’t feel good to you, but quit. Make a mental decision to be done. Not just in this yoga class though. When you get home tonight quit something else, or someone else. If something feels as daunting or uncomfortable or unnatural as this stupid yoga pose, quit it.”
About half of the girls dropped to the ground laughing and thanking me. The look of relief on their faces made me realize how necessary and rewarding it is to be allowed to quit. We’ve all heard “Winners never quit” but I say quit that. Quit believing that.
That week alone I quit a pair of pants that had been too tight for weeks, I quit an essay that I couldn’t get quite right, and most importantly I quit my boyfriend. Don’t you dare think that quitting is limited to jobs or projects or pursuits of perfection. You can quit people. Quit the friends who lie to you, and the girlfriend or boyfriend who treats you bad, and the co-worker you can’t stand. Make the mental decision to be done with them, and make it as clear as a job resignation. This doesn’t mean you have to write out your reasons and provide them with two weeks notice. What it does mean is that it needs to be as certain and as permanent as quitting your job.
From my experience, the things I have quit have freed me from their ties. It is the things that I failed, gave up on or allowed to drag me along that I will always regret or miss. So quit good and hard, and start learning that winners quit all the time.
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