When to persevere and when to quit? That’s often a tough question to answer. Very often, we are told that we have to persevere, we have to keep going because that’s how you accomplish your goals.
And it’s true. We do have to persevere to achieve our goals because we are always going to come up against obstacles, roadblocks, and challenges.
I read a book this week, Awaken the Magic Within: The 7 Essential Virtues for Incredible Success by Joe Swinger, in which the main character learns that Perseverance is a virtue and the key to fulfillment. He resolves never to walk away from anything again for the rest of his life.
Hmmm… That took me aback. Of course, I was taking it out of context, but still … it got me thinking.
Never walk away? Aren’t there times when walking away is the best option?
It’s a question that often troubles me. Is it okay to quit? And when? Does quitting make me a loser? Isn’t it giving up and being weak?
Then today, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal, a book review of Annie Duke’s book Quit, that challenges the prevailing wisdom that quitting is being a loser.
She makes the case for thinking like a quitter by arguing that we fundamentally misunderstand something about quitting: It’s not losing.
“Contrary to popular belief, winners quit a lot,” Ms. Duke writes. “That’s how they win.” (WSJ, 9/29/2022)
Winners quit a lot? That’s how they win? That seems a bit contrary to the concept of perseverance and never quitting, doesn’t it?
But the more I thought about it, the more it truly makes sense. We have to quit some things to make room for the really important things, the things where we have the potential to make the biggest impact, the best contribution.
“Success does not lie in sticking to things,” Ms. Duke writes. “It lies in picking the right thing to stick to and quitting the rest.” (WSJ, 9/29/2022)
Success lies in picking the right thing (or things) to stick to and quitting the rest.
In other words, managing our time, our resources, and our energy in a way that aligns with our purpose, our passion, and the things that have the highest potential for success.
The problem is that it’s sometimes hard to discern what “the right things are”.
I don’t know about you, but I have lots of things I love to do. And I’ll admit that I get pulled in different directions and sometimes, well, distracted by one thing when I could be doing something else. Does that happen to you?
That’s where perseverance comes in because, as Mr. Swinger states, it really is a virtue for achieving incredible success!
I need perseverance when I need to move my business forward, write my weekly blog, get my next book finished, or prepare for an upcoming presentation – even when those things are hard, or there is something in the way, or I’m not getting the results that I want in that moment.
And quitting? That comes in when I’m tempted to take on another project that I don’t need to do or I’ve started down a road that I realize is NOT the right road for me.
Having clarity around what it is I’m meant to do is a critical aspect of my discernment process. It gives me a yardstick to say, “Yup, I need to persevere, this is in alignment with me, my purpose, and my well-being.” or “Nope, I need to quit. I’m really having fun with it, but it’s not aligned, at least right now.”
Of course, connection is essential too. Being connected to my Higher Self, being able to listen to that voice of inner wisdom guiding me to keep going versus that inner critic that tells me to give up every time I hit a speed bump. You know that voice, right?
I know I’ve written about this before if you’ve been following my articles for a while, but every once in a while, I have to dust this topic off and remind myself how important perseverance, quitting, and discernment are. I hope it helps you to be reminded too.
And if you want help persevering in the right thing(s) or discerning what those things are, I’m here to help. Just let me know.
PS – I strongly recommend Mr. Swinger’s book: Awaken the Magic Within: The 7 Essential Virtues for Incredible Success. It’s a great read, full of valuable insight in a fun story. I’m planning to check out Ms. Duke’s book too.
Loved this thoughtful consideration of perseverance vs quitting (walking away) and consulting with your Higher Self to discern the difference. I am learning more and more to pause and consult with that Inner Wisdom and knowing what is right.
That’s awesome, Paulien! It is a process to learn to consult your Inner Wisdom.