Winston Churchill famously said, “Never, never, never give up. And “nobody likes a quitter.” At least that’s the common perception.
Quitting gets a deservedly bad rap. It doesn’t feel good to give up. It seems like an admission of defeat or weakness. But there are times when giving up is a good idea. Here are five instances when you will be better served by giving up:
- If continuing on damages important relationships: Continuing on a course to achieve your goal that is painful to others is a good reason to give up. Dogged determination can make others think they don’t matter, or cause you to spend more time on your project than the important people in your life. Leveraging your finances to succeed may put your family at financial risk. Don’t let persistence damage relationships.
- If your ongoing efforts detract from more important matters: Not giving up might allow you to win the battle but lose the war. You could achieve what you’re after but at the expense of losing more important results. You have only so much time and you don’t want to misallocate it in dogged persistence to lesser goals.
- If the push to succeed is ruining your health: Sacrificing your health to achieve success doesn’t make sense at any level. And it happens. People work so long and so hard that their wellbeing suffers. You won’t enjoy success if you sacrificed your health to achieve it.
- If you keep trying but are making no forward progress: If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, at the very least try something different. Maybe you just need to give up on a course of action that isn’t working.
- If the outcome isn’t ultimately that important: Sometimes people attach more importance to the process than the result. Maintain perspective. Compare what your success will look like against how you might have otherwise invested your efforts. In the bigger scheme of things, is what you are pursuing worth the price you are paying?
So why did I include “probably” in the title of this blog? I believe these are five very good reasons for giving up, but ultimately the decision to give up or keep trying is up to you. There are exceptions to most rules and I don’t want to be guilty of being too rigid. However, don’t ignore the times when giving up doesn’t make you weak–it just makes sense.