I Quit

That’s what I think three or four times a month.

To be honest, the thought of quitting whatever I’m doing in my life has been on my mind as long as I remember. When I was in high school, I wanted to quit and just find a job. When I played basketball, I wanted to quit.

When I started a business, I wanted to quit and get a job. When I got a job, I wanted to quit and get back to my business.

I can go on and on until I reach the present. I know, it sounds like an existential crisis that people in the first world only have. But that’s not what’s going on.

You’ll never find me crying about stuff like missing out on parties, not being able to get my hands on a ‘one-of-a-kind’ t-shirt (you hype beasts out there), or a dead battery.

But no matter how much I love what I do, the thoughts of quitting and just walking away show up in my mind every time things get hard. And in the past, those thoughts cost me many nights of sleep.

About two years ago I had enough. I wanted to quit thinking.

So I started becoming aware of my thoughts instead of always acting on every single thought I had.

“You don’t control me,” I would say to myself like a weirdo. But it works. I’m much calmer, patient, and happier because of it. However, when I want to quit, I still listen to it because sometimes it is a sign. 

But more often, it’s just fear. And I refuse to surrender to it. And so should you.

Don’t Quit When It Gets Hard

I’m all about quitting things that are not worth it. Sometimes, you’re doing things that don’t contribute anything to your life. For example, I’ve left jobs, clients, and even friends in the past.

However, I’m firmly against quitting when things get hard. And unfortunately, that’s exactly the reason most of us quit.

Look, achieving goals never happens in a linear way.

We believe there’s a straight line from where you are to where you want to be. Let’s say your goal is to start a business so you can have more freedom in your life. That was my goal since I was 17.

I still remember how I came up with that goal. I started working several jobs since I was 15. I worked in kitchens, stores, and call centers. And I quickly realized, there’s only one person who benefits from all this: The one at the top.

So from an early age, I set my mind to working for myself. I thought I could just start working for myself from the beginning.

But that’s not how it worked out for me. I had to take a lot of detours. I worked for many other people in between. I also started businesses that failed. And I’m still no way near where I want to be.

But understanding that life is not linear helps us to change the way we think.

It took me years to figure out how you can work for yourself successfully. Along the way, I’ve thought about quitting many times.

Now, I realize that’s a good thing. If you never feel like quitting, that means life is too easy, and you need to take action in your life.

Everybody plays tough and pretends they can easily handle life. I don’t believe that. No one knows what they’re doing. Some people are just better at dealing with their fear than others.

Because when you get over your fear, good things happen. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can say to make things easier for you. Life is not easy. No matter what you do, it’s time to stop watching Netflix every night and browsing webshops for the newest clothes.

Don’t put your life off. It takes a while to figure things out. But that doesn’t mean you should quit. I’ve learned that if you haven’t reached your goals yet, or haven’t found a way to be successful, it doesn’t mean you’re a loser.

It means you haven’t found out how to win yet. If you keep going, you will find out.

But if you quit, you won’t. So don’t.

 

 

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22 comments

  1. Darius, this post is so timely.

    I’ve been getting less paid work lately and I’ve been wondering about what I’m doing.

    But when I get back to my work, paid or unpaid, it feels so good. I enjoy doing what I do SO MUCH and there are people out there who like what I’m doing. I never had that working for other people.

    I think these moments are good even when they’re hard because you are shaken out of your comfort zone and have to get more creative than usual. I checked the links you put and the other posts were very helpful too. Thanks!

  2. Your are the best. Says as it is. That I believe gives individual proper tool to be more effective and productive.

  3. “But understanding that life is not linear helps us to change the way we think.” – yes this! I also often get thoughts and feelings about wanting to quit, or feeling like a loser, but I never act on them seriously because I like what I’m doing too much.
    Hello to my pay Elfin in the comments whose sentiment I totally agree with!

  4. Thanks for the input. Funny though, how this makes me want to quit… I’ve been waiting patiently for what seams like ever to quit my job and start my own business. I am very nearly ready, but nooot quite. I think about quitting every single day, but that’s only cause my current job (which I love) is a step towards my bigger goal. That bigger goal is actually what I’m scared of. Ironically, I’m going to have to quit my current job to not quit my larger goal.

  5. I just love how straightforward, brief and informative you articles are. Not even for a second I get bored while reading them or feel like scrolling down. Love your writing style and the wise insights you provide. Beautiful work Darius, look forward to checking out your book !

  6. I always thought such thoughts are for people who lose track in life – weak hearted needing advice and a ‘northstar’ guidance motivation but wow! I am here myself needing advice. I’m an Investment banker + entrepreneur + writer + self-taught web-developer who coded http://www.freshmasala.com and now write my experiences too.

    Basically I’ve always embraced every role ‘openly’ that came my way in non-linear career and never shied away from learning new skills for it. But now for financial constraints, contemplate to close start up and get back to job and occasionally write as a hobby.

    Some of my friends have achieved higher position in good companies. Sometimes feel I sailed many boats and if I had never studied that much or had career switches and been so flexible to adapt, I would have been an achiever. At this juncture wondering what next to choose as my next career and will they take me with a wide experience which may not all be irrelevant to their industry? A jack of all trades and master of none feeling grips me.

    Anyway, my husband who’s also looking for work giving interviews and then rejections, cheered me up with this blog and I felt it much needed. thx.

  7. Great article. I’ve quit my job almost every day for at least a year if not more. Of course it is all in my head. I’ve even set dates I was going to quit. Those of course have come and gone. I have another one coming up at the end of the year. This might be it, but maybe not. But quitting in my head is sometimes what I need to keep going until I can quit in reality.

    I agree with your statement about wanting to quit when things get hard. The silent quit is perfect for those times but actually quitting then, I believe, would be losing an opportunity to grow.

    Thanks for such a relevant article at the perfect time.

  8. Hey Darius! I like that you draw a parallel between quitting and saying no. Sometimes saying “no” to some projects (though exciting) allows us to gain more focus and clarity on things that matter to us the most. That in turn helps not to quit but keep moving.

  9. A beautiful and incredibly useful piece of writing. I’ve been tempted into “I want to quit” thinking every time I’ve gotten myself into something hard. For me, I’ve realized that turning that into “I’m *allowed* to quit” is usually enough. Somehow reasserting control, not feeling trapped, lets me restore my power as an agent, not a victim, and reenergize for solving the crap I got myself into.

  10. Nothing is better to explain a situation better than a breakdown between of mind process and your own gut feelings which you did brilliantly. The guilt and shame you feel sometimes when you want to quit makes it unproductive and sometimes could make you ignore the signs you mentioned and keep doing what you do. I’m with you on this don’t quit when it gets hard but don’t be stubborn because sometimes it’s the right decision

  11. I’ve been trying to reach my goal for the past 15 years, I worked hard, sometimes for 2 days straight, but yet nothing has changed. I’m in my late 30s, my body can’t take the beating like it used to, I don’t know what to do anymore.

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