Quitting: the unacknowledged virtue


Perseverance. Don’t give up. Never say die. Determination. Tenacity. Loyalty. Through thick and thin. Persistence. At any price. Always do your best. Spare no effort. Leave no stone unturned. Spare no pains. Go through fire and water. Always keep one’s word. Remember the “Little Engine that Could”!


These are the messages we hear and accept from the earliest age. They become a part of our identity. And when we see ourselves in full or partial violation of these messages, we often think badly or are ashamed of ourselves.



Give up. Call it quits. Be a quitter. If it’s not working, get out. If it doesn’t fit you, try something else. If there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, maybe it’s the wrong tunnel. If it doesn’t feel easy, it may not be the right way, anyway. Cancel your word. Knowing when to fold them is one of the secrets to a successful life. When things change, when you have new information, when you see a better way to think about things, to hang onto how things were before is a symptom of self-imposed blindness.


These are typically the messages that we don’t hear and would consider to be heretical if we did.


Pay attention to changes, to context, to circumstances...otherwise you're driving blind

Perseverance is great, but not all the time and not in every situation.

The horrors and costs of perseverance

How many lives would have been saved if the Japanese leaders had recognized that they were obviously going to lose the war and surrendered much earlier than they did?


How many lives would have been saved if the leaders of the United States had acknowledged what was so clearly an un-winnable war in Vietnam and pulled out years earlier?


How many loveless, tortured lives, for both parents, and oftentimes children, are unnecessarily endured because the spouses are unwilling to declare their marriage unworkable?


Choosing courage to keep your eyes open and to either persevere or quit

By always relying on the simplistic formula of perseverance, we avoid the challenge of thinking for ourselves and making difficult and courageous choices based upon the context and circumstances as well as our deepest desires and commitments.


Life consists of taking on many games, both concurrently and sequentially

These games are rarely like chess, where there is nothing hidden from your view.

Life games are more like hands in poker, with new information and new learning appearing as you progress through each hand. In poker, if you insisted on never folding, you will be a terrible poker player.

Wisdom and courage are required to “…know when to hold them, know when to fold them; know when to walk away, know when to run…knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep…”


Thank you, Kenny Rogers.


Honor yourself for the courage to quit.

See also Quitaverance and Quitaverance: knowing when to quit. See also Final Exit.