Like many people I was raised not to quit. One of the most vivid early memories on this is taking piano lessons from a teacher I didn’t like, couldn’t connect with and was flat out afraid of. I was ready to quit those lessons on more than one occasion but every time was persuaded by my family to keep going and try harder. “You are not a quitter”, – I was told. And that stayed with me.
The advantages of learning to persevere have been countless and here are only some of them:
– I learned to get any job done regardless of what I got my hands on.
– Learned to stay on course and overcome challenges even when others stopped trying.
– Learned the value of invested time and effort and was able to help others stick to their goals and achieve them.
But as much as I benefited from the transferable skills this experience taught me, I learned very little about actually playing piano and never had fun over the course of years I kept at it. So at what point grit becomes a wasted time and effort? When can we rightfully claim that the trouble is not worth it and quitting is justified?
Here are a few lessons I learned – some the easy way and some the hard way:
- When it comes to people my mom has a golden rule – you keep them in your life, hold on to them and even fight for them as long as the positive in them overweighs the negative even by a hair. But if the negativity takes over and the person deliberately keeps bringing others down in order to compensate for their own shortcomings – it is time to let go. If you have done everything in your power to help them turn things around but to no avail, the chronic toxicity is simply not worth wasting any more of your precious time and health over.
- Speaking of health, it’s a definite sign to quit whatever you are dealing with when the stress of the difficult situation starts deteriorating your mental or physical health. WebMD warns of numerous health problems related to stress and among them lists the top 10 conditions: heart disease; asthma; obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression and anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer’s disease, accelerated aging and worst of all, premature death.
- Stagnation – if the situation you are in provides absolutely no opportunities for personal or professional growth, you have reached a logical dead end. Even if there is no room to vertically move up within the organization, look for opportunities to learn more on the job by changing perspective, finding fresh new angles to look at things through cross training, improve your people skills or sign up for projects helping other functions within your workplace. We need goals – attainable but challenging goals in our life to keep us interested and to keep growing. So if there is no purpose, no growth whatsoever, quit now in order to prevent further stagnation or worse yet, regress.
None of the above means that we should run away at the first signs of relationship challenges or our work getting harder or slower. Determination and perseverance are still the best known ways to get to where you see yourself in the future. At the same time, don’t choose to stay in a non-productive or toxic environment until it starts sucking out your liveliness or deteriorates the quality of your life in any other way. Where do you stand on this? Have you ever had to quit and what lead you to that decision?