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?