By David Joel Miller.
Should you give up or keep going?
You read a lot of advice that tells you to never give up. But I think we’ve all seen people who continue doing something which never had a chance of success. I notice a lot of people starting businesses full of hope, and over time they pour everything they had into that business only to lose everything. We also see people who gave up just before success could have happened. How do you decide when to persevere and when to give up?
People don’t like to quit but sometimes quitting is the smart thing to do.
I recently came across a Seth Godin book titled “The Dip” that talked about precisely this dilemma. There are several reasons you might have to choose between continuing and giving up.
In the beginning, you don’t know what’s ahead.
Many people get themselves into something, a job, a career, or a relationship, without knowing what’s ahead. That can be the result of not researching your planned course of action or not spending the time to get to know the person you’re getting involved with. A change of path can also happen because situations in the world have changed.
Many things sound a lot easier and more enjoyable than they actually are. Being a rock star musician is a common fantasy. But unless you really love playing your instrument and performing in front of people, trying to make it to the top can be a painful path. Being a rock star looks attractive, but the thousands of hours of practice and the long stretches of playing one-night stands in small clubs deters a lot of would-be rock stars.
Quit when the things you must do, don’t match your values.
It is imperative that you be clear about your values. Sometimes you start on something only to discover that what you’ll have to do will not be consistent with your values. In that situation, many people compromise their values. Sometimes it pays to re-examine your beliefs. But if what you will have to do does not match your core values it’s time to give up the pursuit of that goal and headed in a different direction.
When your approach stops working you should change tactics.
No matter how well thought out plan was, if it doesn’t work it’s not the right plan. Many people invest so much pursuing something they want that they find it impossible to give up the pursuit of that goal even when they know what they’re doing won’t work. Working longer and harder won’t help if you are using the wrong approach.
It’s time to change when you are putting more in than you’re getting back.
We never seem to have all the information we need before starting on a project. If you find that the cost of reaching your goal will be more than you have or more than that goal is worth, it is time to change your plan. Many people succumb to the sunken cost fallacy. They tell themselves I put so much into this that I must keep going. What you put into it in the past is irrelevant. Past efforts and past expenditures are gone. What’s important is how much more will you have to put in and will the result be worth the additional investment.
Abandon a course when it’s not taking you where you want to go.
Sometimes life’s maps turn out to be inaccurate or missing details. If you set off in one direction and discovered that the effort you’re putting in is not taking you where you want to go, don’t keep wandering in the wrong direction. People can spend their whole lives saying that they’re working to make money so that someday they’ll be able to do what they want. Unfortunately, far too often people run out of life before they make the change and headed in the direction they wanted to go. For many things, the journey will take you a long time, don’t wait too long to begin heading in the right direction.
Are there things in your life you need to re-examine? What goals should you abandon and what will you need to dedicate yourself to?
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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