What To Do When You Want to Quit

I’m reminded of something every time someone tells me they want to quit something that’s been difficult for them.

See, I share a birthday with Winston Churchill  No, smartass. Not the year, the day.

I was reminded of the most famous British Prime Minister as I was listening to a long-time acquaintance telling me that he had decided to give up. 

After four tough years of trying to build his business, he was going to lock the door and go home.

The pandemic had ruined him. There’s too much competition. The economy was in the tank.

It was never going to get better.

Churchill Said It Best

As I listened, I couldn’t help but think about that man, Winston Churchill.

On October 29, 1941, Churchill visited Harrow School to speak to the students. At that event, he delivered one of his most-quoted speeches.

He said, “… never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty. Never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

As my friend continued telling me all his reasons for quitting I realized he wasn’t talking to me at all.

He was talking to himself.

I was merely a sounding board off which he could bounce his decisions in order to validate their correctness to himself.

He was using his time with me to convince himself of the wisdom of his choice. I had a different perspective for him, something I encourage everyone to consider when you want to quit.

Life is a Battlefield

When Winston Churchill uttered those words his country was at war and his enemy was a powerful force determined to conquer his country.

When you’re at war, you may well feel that giving up is never an option.

But what about us in our own lives? Many people are feeling ground down right now and have had moments where we wanted to quit, even though most of us are not facing a conquering army.

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Don’t Give Up

Barring Churchill’s exception for “convictions of honour and good sense,” little good comes from quitting. When we give up, we’re not really removing ourselves from an untenable situation. We’re simply exchanging immediate pain and discomfort for a future filled with unanswered questions.

When we give up we will never know:

  • How close we may have been to succeeding;
  • That we may have been only one day from success;
  • That we may have been one meeting away for the biggest business deal of our lives;
  • That we may have been two weeks away from the promotion we have wanted for so long;
  • That we were one final attempt away from quitting smoking; or,
  • That we were two days from discovering a fitness pursuit that could change our health forever.

When we give up, we give up a lot. Probably far more than we realize.

While we make the pain go away, and make our lives a little easier, but only in the short term.

So I begged my friend not to give up, not to let his dream die, but to live with the conviction that success is not a question mark, it is a timeline.

Till We Read Again.

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