On Quitting

I forgot to write down the quote that prompted this post. I googled quotes on quitting and found the exact opposite of what I was looking for. I found:

Michael Jordan – “If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit.”

Norman Vincent Peale – “It’s always too soon to quit”

Douglas MacArthur – “Age wrinkles the body; quitting wrinkles the soul”

Robert Kylosaki – “Quitting is the easiest thing to do.”

Napolean Hill – “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits”

And on and on and on. The idea that no one should ever quit. Quitters are losers. Quitters are weak. Successful people are people who never quit.

We were taught this as kids. We teach this to our kids We should never quit. Ever.

I’m a quitter. I quit my job over six months ago instead of continuing to allow a toxic environment to destroy my mental health. I could have kept going. I could have stayed where I was and been “tough” and “not a loser” and powered through the toxic stuff. I would have been miserable. I would have been depressed and anxious and physically ill, but I could have kept going. But, why would I do that? Why is it considered stronger to stay in a situation like this than to take a chance and leave a bad situation? Did it “wrinkle my soul” to quit? Or is it saving my soul?

I think our toxic relationship with quitting is related to our toxic relationship with rest. We have decided that we must be busy all the time. We teach this to our kids. We sign them up for sports, piano lessons, tutoring, dance, etc. so they never have unscheduled time. We push them to keep going and won’t let them quit when they don’t enjoy the sport or playing the piano. Or if they do quit we require them to have something in line to replace the activity so they are still busy.


Why do we push kids to keep playing a sport they hate? Why do we push kids to play an instrument when they hate it? Why are we afraid of letting them have downtime? Why are we raising a new generation of people who refuse to rest and think quitting at any time is weak?

I propose that sometimes quitting takes more strength than persevering. I propose that quitting is sometimes a good thing. I propose that we let kids quit things that don’t give them joy.

Who is with me?


15 thoughts on “On Quitting

  1. Here’s my thing. I never told my daughter that she had to continue with something she didn’t like. However, if she signed up for a team, she had to see it through. Practices, games, etc. but I allowed her to quit after the term limit so to speak.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I thought it was kind of weird her families reaction. All of the other families were cheering and her family did not look too happy as if something else were going on. Very weird. I am sure there will be all sorts of takes on this as to what this really means.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I read it was a mental issue. Poor girl. I wonder why they couldn’t have replaced her with Mykala Skinner for a few events? Mykala went to my daughter’s University. I got to see her in person. One of the gymnasts on that team was a close friend of my daughter’s and she’d get us free tickets.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I quit writing for a magazine this past year when we got busy getting our house ready to sell. I realized that I wasn’t enjoying the assignments, it was hard tracking down the interviews, and I wasn’t proud of the final results. I look back and question myself if it was the right move.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Let’s hope Simone Biles finds a bit of peace in this decision. She was expected to carry that Olympic team to gold but cracked. The weight and monumental expectations were on her small shoulders. She basically supports her entire family with her endorsements, so of course, they were not happy with her decision. Tater made the right decision; staying in a toxic work environment can ruin your health, mental and physical. I have been in that position myself, but like my grandfather always said, ” never be a quitter,” I stayed and paid the price. Good luck Tater.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Was this what you were looking for?

    “Contrary to popular opinion, quitting is for winners. Knowing when to quit, change direction, leave a toxic situation, demand more from life, give up on something that wasn’t working and move on, is a very important skill that people who win at life all seem to have.”–Steven Bartlett

    I think back to the times in my life when I should have quit and I didn’t. I had been raised on the old adage “quitters never win” as well as all the others you quoted above. I didn’t quit a marriage that almost killed me, I didn’t quit working a dead end job to seek something better, I didn’t quit toxic people and allowed them to wreak havoc on my life. Now, I think (hope) I have learned my lesson. Quitting is hard…but not as hard as finding out that what you worked and slaved so hard to “win” is bulls**t you would have been better off without. I find Bartlett’s quote very apropos to my life today. I have “won” so much more since I got better at quitting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with you on quitting. Sometimes it’s the best thing you can do. I also didn’t make Jane keep doing extracurricular activities that she wanted to stop. We gave her a term limit for both piano lessons and ballet. With piano, she was so talented and good, I was sad to see her stop. My mother forced us all to take lessons until we graduated from high school, so for 9-10 years, depending on when each of us started. My eldest sister was fine with this, as she went on to major in piano in college. My elder sister was not. When our teacher suggested to my mother that perhaps piano just wasn’t fot her and that she should stop, my mother went right out and found a new teacher so that she’d finish out her “term.” I was able to weasel out of the last half of senior year by taking on a lead role in a musical at school and saying that I wouldn’t have time to practice. Because I was substituting something else musical, that was okay. Such a controller! Anyway, particularly with a toxic environment, sometimes quitting can be the positive thing to do. You’ve done the right thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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