Is It Time To Quit?

by on September 14th, 2012

You were the best before, but today the rest of the people are catching up. The work used to be easy but now you’re struggling more than ever. She used to return your calls the same day but now she doesn’t.

Quitting clearly isn’t the advice your parents gave you. If you asked them again now, they’d probably say, keep working at it. Persistence pays off. You can do anything you put your mind to.

But in a recent book I read by Seth Godin, there’s also the perspective that quitting is a good thing. Because no one will ever become the best at anything unless they are good at quitting.

When a startup won’t work, you have to learn to quit the strategy and adapt to something else. This is known as pivoting.

When your project won’t get traction and you can’t find funding. If you keep working, then you forego the time and energy to work on other projects that might be better.

And when a girl won’t call you back. Quitting frees you up to stop worrying. To find other girls. To stop thinking about the one who you’ll claim doesn’t even matter – even though it doesn’t feel that way at the time.

On the other hand, this doesn’t hold true all the time.

Data show that salespeople have to keep going — and not quit — if they ever expect to make a sale. The average salesperson gives us after 5 sales but data show for big purchases that it takes seven calls to make them commit.

Likewise, we’ve all heard of stories of entrepreneurs who only made it through because they outworked everyone else.

And of love stories, where one person had no interest in the beginning but where persistence paid off.

So perhaps the most important decision you can make is to figure out if you should keep trying and keep calling. I’m making some of these same decisions right now. Maybe you should be too.

“Never Quit”.

What a spectacularly bad piece of advice. I think the advice giver meant to say “Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment”.

Now that’s good advice.

-Seth Godin

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