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No. 703 / When to keep going; when to quit

No matter your pursuit, you will inevitably face the following question: Should you quit? Or should you keep going?

You’re not the first to face this conundrum.

Many aspiring doctors ask themselves this question when second-year midterms come around. Countless explorers and pioneers faced this dilemma when they reached the point of no return. Jony, I’m sure, has been contemplating the quandary for quite some time.

Some people have thrived because they stuck it out, others have survived because they quit.

There’s no easy answer. But there are some things we can learn from the individuals who kept at it, and from those who quit. One being, that just because you think the ship is sinking, doesn’t mean it is, in reality. Experiencing high turnover? Maybe the company made some bad recent hires. Maybe it will learn from its mistakes and be better than ever. Maybe you’re now positioned to advance. In other words - don’t ‘bandwagon’ quit. Make the decision on your own.

Another example, got a good thing going but still feel the itch to ‘prove yourself?’ Be careful when this is your motivation. People who leave ideal situations for merely validation never receive it.

A word of caution: when considering your own experiences or studying the experiences of others, “you should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it—and stop there,” as Mark Twain once said, “lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again—and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.” The cat’s hindsight, in other words, distorts her view. “The past should be our teacher, not our master.”

Quit. Keep going. There might not be a right answer. But there is a right way to execute your decision—swiftly, and with confidence.