How quitting may make you happier
It may sound counter-intuitive or just downright crazy – giving up more often to have a better life. Yet, that’s precisely what wellness experts and life coaches are telling their clients and friends these days. When things aren’t working out for you, just give up and move on.
That might be a hard pill to swallow when you consider the value society places on never giving up. It’s in our movies. The hero often saves the day and wins by never giving up against insurmountable odds.
It’s in our music. Motivational song lyrics are filled with lines that extol the virtues of never quitting…ever. It’s huge in entrepreneurship. Business moguls tell you to keep working hard no matter what and you’ll eventually make it.
This is especially true with men. We’ve been conditioned to see giving up or making a course correction as a colossal failure. It’s downright unmanly.
Some of that comes from outdated societal norms. Part of it has to do with a certain cognitive bias that warps our reasoning. It’s called the sunk cost fallacy.
Basically, we’re reluctant to let something go if we have already invested a great deal of time, energy, money, or emotion into it. We just keep banging away at it simply because we’ve already been banging away at it.
That doesn’t make sense at all, but the sunk cost fallacy is one of the reasons we don’t just walk away to find something better.
Wellness experts are on the front line of this mental war. Dwight Goldwinde is a transformative life coach with 32 years of experience. He’s an author, counsellor, and he lives an extraordinary life in Kunming, China.
If you want some truly out of the box answers to life’s questions, then simply Ask Dwight How. Here are his thoughts on why we value persistence over quitting.
“This fact is a testament to the ongoing war that exists within almost all of us between our Now and our Next. When we lionize our Next and demonize our Now, it makes perfect sense that we would worship persistence and vilify quitting.”
Dwight goes on to say, “Yes, in many circumstances it makes sense to keep going, to try again, not to give up. And, if we’ve created peace between Now and Next so that Now is enjoying the process of whatever Next is going for, then persistence in our actions will be easy.”
“But in other circumstances, when we learn something new that we didn’t know when we made the original decision, when new circumstances arise that did not exist previously and we did not anticipate, then quitting may be our perfect new choice.”
Let’s face it, guys. Persistence isn’t always the best choice. You don’t get medals or cool points for persisting in a toxic relationship, persisting in a dead-end job, or persisting in a line of thought that is self-destructive.
A wiser man knows when to hold onto something and when to let it go.
It’s like Johnny Cash said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”
You Might Earn More Money If You Tell Your Boss “I quit!”
According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people certainly know when to quit their jobs. In fact, people in 2018 voluntarily quit their jobs at a rate we haven’t seen in nearly 20 years. So, why are people punching out for good these days?
Well, wages are stagnant, and the labor market isn’t growing to keep pace with living expenses. People are finding that working hard every day in the hopes that you’ll get noticed, get promoted or get a raise is just not happening. In this case, persistence doesn’t pay off. It only locks you into your cubicle.
What happens as a result of the mass migration from dead-end jobs is that people wind up finding better paying jobs or they at least start a new job in a higher position than before. The average is about a 15% increase in pay when someone leaves one job for a new one.
Essentially, by giving up on your job, you are putting leverage back in your favor. Now, you can reset the terms of your career so that you can increase your earning potential.
It might sound a bit risky, but if you are educated, highly skilled and potentially have good references, you could quit your way to a better life.
Here are some more things that are healthy to quit:
- Comparing yourself to others
- Neglecting what you actually want in place of what you think you need
- Micromanaging your every thought and action
- Trying to please other people
- Making excuses for how being unhappy now will pay off later
It’s not just for work. Quitting can help you improve other areas of your life, as well. It’s true. You can give up and still win.
If you give up trying to impress other people, then you’ll find more value in the life you already have. If you give up overthinking all your decisions and micromanaging your life, then you could be more mindful of the present moment and enjoy life more.
If you give up on judging yourself, then you might love yourself a whole lot more. If you give up the idea that wanting to play Xbox tonight is such a bad thing, you might actually become more productive if you allow yourself a moment of fun before the hard work begins.
Giving up has always been vilified. We’ve been taught that persistence overcomes any obstacle in life. For men, giving up on something is the same as losing. If we quit on something or someone, we might feel like a failure.
Yet, that’s not always the case. Persistence has its place, but a sane man knows when the better course of action is actually inaction. If you’re heading in the wrong direction, just quit.
By giving up now, you could avoid 10 more years of a horrible marriage. You could give up on getting a degree in a field your parents wanted you to pursue and start a business in an industry that you’re passionate about.
If your boss has passed you up for that crucial raise, then quit. Find a new job and set the bar yourself.
Quitting doesn’t have to be a failure. In fact, it can be a tremendous source of power for you.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” -W.C. Fields