Maybe It’s Time to Give Up


Our culture encourages a never give up attitude. While that might be a good philosophy to live by the majority of the time, there comes a time when it makes sense to throw in the towel. No one wants to be a quitter, but quitting is actually the smartest choice in some circumstances. 

Is it time to give up? Let’s find out. 

Quitting may be the right choice for your circumstances if: 

1. The outcome you wanted no longer appeals to you. Maybe you always wanted to be a cowboy, or become a classical pianist, or run a marathon, but interests change. If something truly no longer appeals to you, it’s silly to waste your time pursuing it. 

  • However, be certain it’s the outcome that no longer excites you. Perhaps it’s just the work ahead that’s unappealing. That’s a different issue. 

2. The required sacrifice is no longer worth it. Accomplishing anything significant requires a sacrifice. In the case of a physical endeavor, that sacrifice might be physical discomfort, injury, or time. Other goals might have financial sacrifices. Regardless of the goal, there will be a sacrifice. 

  • You might discover that the sacrifice is far greater than you anticipated, or that your priorities have changed. Life isn’t a static event. Everything is constantly changing. 

3. You’ve found something better. Suppose you were fascinated by the violin, so you bought a violin and started taking lessons. Along the way, you discovered the tuba and all its glory. It’s reasonable to quit the violin and pursue the tuba instead. 

  • Sometimes, our initial interests lead us to the thing that we really love. Many psychologists recommend this as a strategy for finding your true self. They suggest giving all of your interests a fair try and then see what happens as a result. 

4. You’re overly concerned with what others think. Are you pursuing medical school, a great set of abs, or a BMW because you want to impress others? This is hardly satisfying. You’d be wise to quit immediately and find something else to do with your time that will satisfy you directly. 

  • No one is ever going to give you enough praise to make your efforts worth it. 

5. It’s taking too much time or other resources from a more significant goal. Some of your interests might be impeding your progress toward more significant goals. You only have a certain number of hours each day. Spreading yourself too thin ensures that you’ll never accomplish anything significant. 

  • Casual interests often have to be set aside to support the bigger picture. 

6. Your capabilities have changed. Maybe you had a shot of winning the NYC marathon at one time in the past. Age, injuries, family issues, and other recently discovered limitations can become hurdles too big to overcome. Or, those hurdles can make the necessary sacrifices too big to be worth the effort. 

  • As your situation changes, your objectives might change, too. For example, a recently married person might find that they have greater responsibilities and demands on their resources – with new priorities – so they may want to forego a previous goal. 

Some goals become too costly in terms of resources to continue to pursue. A lifetime doesn’t last forever. There’s only so much time, money, and other resources available to pursue your goals. Your interests can also change. What was once appealing can lose its luster over time. 

Maybe you’ve just found something better to spend your time on. Or, perhaps your capabilities or life situation has changed. These are all good reasons to consider quitting. There’s no shame in calling it quits when it’s the smartest option available to you. 

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