“He was weak so he quit”. This is the most common tagline given to those who quit. Other popular ones are, “he didn’t want to work hard” or “he wanted an easy way out”. From an early age, we were taught that there is dignity to finish what we started and that leaving something midway is an act of weakness. “Winners don’t quit!” is a dogma to be remembered for life. We were not just taught this dogma but constantly reminded subtly at every stage of life.
We were told to study for extra hours and shorten our play time because scoring less marks in a test was not good. We were told to be the best in the dance class, drawing class and tuition class or for that matter in every class because our parents had invested a lot of money in it. We were told to hold on to a good course or job because it was the wise thing to do. In a nutshell, we were constantly told that there is honor in finishing what we started and that quitting is not even an option.
This principle has undoubtedly inspired many of us and motivated us to keep on going when greeted with a pitfall. Even we cannot deny that we love hearing stories of people who have achieved something great despite all the obstacles. They inspire us and we want to be like them. Would we be interested in watching a movie where the hero did not fight because there were too many villains and complications?
The idea of finishing the race is so intimidating and enamored that we ourselves tend to consider quitting as wrong. We fail to give importance to the fact that in both real life and motion picture the heroes have one thing in common, they achieve what they desire and they are voluntarily determined to do it.
On one side we are told that time is precious and that we should make the best use of it and on the other side, we are asked to hold on to something we do not enjoy just because finishing is important. What is the value of sticking to and achieving something we never wanted but did so because again, it was the right thing to do? Isn’t it more logical and worthwhile to quit something we do not like and invest our time and effort into achieving something we love after all one life is all we have?
It is important to understand that there is a difference between quitting and giving up in such cases. Giving up means we are no longer willing to make efforts whereas quitting means we are willing to make efforts in something more worthwhile. We are willing to make a sacrifice to follow our passion and not willing to compromise with our happiness, is what quitting really means. Giving up is an act of cowardice whereas quitting is an act of bravery. One needs great courage to quit something and start something new that he enjoys from scratch amidst the barrage of criticism.
Twinkle Khanna, a famous actor, interior designer, columnist and a writer, writes in her book titled Mrs. Funny Bones:
Each day that you persist in a situation where you are miserable is a day wasted on the path that would lead you to happiness. There’s difference between trying and holding. When we were growing up, all we were told was, “try and try harder till you die” but today life is different, there is bravery in quitting, in not staying in one place for the sake of it.
My intention behind writing this post is not to promote quitting but to stop considering quitting as a taboo. Sometimes quitting is okay and sometimes even the best thing to do. We have to see things through and properly evaluate our situation before quitting something. Many of us have stories when we quit something for inappropriate reasons as kids. I remember myself quitting basketball coaching because I didn’t like the warm up sessions. Even as adults we may make faulty decisions and quit something on illogical grounds, so it is important to dig into the crux of the matter and make quitting as one of the wisest decisions of our life rather than a mistake. Remember that we are quitting to voluntarily deposit more hard work rather than running away from hard work.