When we are younger, our parents teach us not to quit. No matter how much we hate it or how hard we find it, bad things are just something you have to learn to stick out. Don’t stop till you reach the top of the mountain. Eat all your veg before you get to the sweets. Finish your homework before any TV. Not quitting brings rewards.
Quitting – it’s just for losers.
In theory, it’s a great lesson to learn. But as with most things, once you grow up, you quickly realise that it’s a little more complicated than that. In fact, out of all the childhood lessons we have to unlearn as adults, I’d say knowing how to quit should be top of your list. In fact, it should be your new favourite four letter word.
If quitting is for losers, I am proudly flaunting the L sign above my forehead playground style. Last month I left a job that promised me the world (but in reality gave me not much more than minimum wage and severe S-monday) to go it alone. And you know what? It feels great.
I never thought of myself as a quitter. I was the kid that ate everything on their plate and played tennis in the freezing rain for hours because I thought that is what I had to do. I liked to do what I was told and what as expected of me. It was safe and reassuring.
But the thing about being an adult is that no one tells you what to do anymore – which can be scary and frightening. So we say yes. Yes out of fear, yes out of obligation, yes out of gratitude. Yes because we don’t know how to say no. But here’s the lesson that no one tells you – once you take away the fear and the stigma, that’s all quitting is. Just another way of saying no.
And why shouldn’t we say no to the things that outgrow us or don’t suit us? We shouldn’t stay out of fear or discomfort – not a job, not a relationship, hell not even a film that you hate.
Turning things down, walking away and saying no –that can be even harder than staying put. Saying no when everyone wants you to nod and say yes – that takes balls and guts and everything in between. But once you learn the power of no, I promise you – you’ll start to feel like a real winner.