Friday, September 25, 2009

Vices and Virtues: Never Quit

I am sure you have fallen victim to this one at some point in your life: Don't be a quitter! Stick with it! Finish what you start! The virtues of commitment, diligence, perseverance. Yet imagine a life where you were never allowed to quit anything that didn't work out? Imagine how much time would be wasted in pursuit of useless things. Gone to the store for Dial soap and there is none? You can buy the Dove or you can drive all over town looking for the right brand. Imagine the risks that would never get taken if you had to be sure up front. We would never try a new art or skill, never start a risky project, never meet new people or enter into new friendships if we didn't have the power and freedom to bail out of it if it wasn't working out. Never quit! Hah! The trick is to find the balance between what to give up and what to stick with. It is, yes, a wise course of action not giving up on a truly good thing just because the path to it turns out to be a little difficult. If it is going to take a little longer or be a little harder or require a little help from someone or require a little more work or effort or difficulty, but if it is truly achievable and worth it, then by all means, soldier on. Do what it takes, rally the forces, give yourself a pep talk and keep on keeping on. But if it is a lost cause, taking more time or energy than it is worth, causing unforeseen damage or harm or pain, turning out to be less important or less valuable than initially thought, by all means, give it up and move on. Move on to things more worthy of your time and effort and more likely to yield good benefit in proportion to the input required. It can be difficult to recognize that point in time where something is no longer worth it and it is time to give up and move on. Or it can be just as difficult to recognize in time of discouragement and pain that the thing really is worth never quitting on. But to recognize that we possess the free will to decide that and to reexamine and re-decide it frequently throughout the process is a valuable realization indeed. Never Quit. Unless it makes sense to quit. Then quit promptly, clean up the mess, and move on to something else. Guilt free, because sometimes quitting really is the right thing to do.


Chuckles said...

Ashleith Brilliant, a real person, BTW, has quite a bit to say about this subject. For example,

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and whatever you hit, call it the target.

Ashleigh Brilliant, Brilliant Thoughts (copyright info:


I don't have any solution but I certainly admire the problem.

If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.

I may not be totally perfect, but parts of me are excellent.

I can do only one thing at a time, but I can avoid doing many things simultaneously.

Maybe I'm lucky to be going so slowly, because I may be going in the wrong direction.

Life is the only game in which the object of the game is to learn the rules.

Strange as it may seem, my life is based on a true story,

It's not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.

Strangely enough, this is the past that somebody in the future is longing to go back to.

goprairie said...

perhaps you should write the reat of the vices and virtues series?

Chuckles said...

That's it for me - I'm outta any thing more to say. Back to you, K.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes this whole thing is reversed... Take smoking for example. Most people think quitting is always the right thing to do, that being a quitter is good. But in some cases you shouldn't. If you only have a few days to live due to some other condition, you might as well enjoy those last few days to their fullest by continuing with all the vices you can. To quit or not is a serious question and the circumstances (and your own personal preferences) should be your guide. "never quit" is too rigid. Is paying taxes a vise?

Chuckles said...

Paying taxes is a vise only to the extent that it "squeezes" you...

XSarenkaX said...

This is very good, no-nonsense advice. It's good to get reminders once in a while. Thanks for posting this.