Over the years I’ve noticed that a fair number of people subscribe to the notion that one should never ever give up.
While I employ a proactive thinning of my social media herd, I still encounter various motivational messages with a hashtag that essentially suggests that bailing on a project is the mark of the weak. That deciding to quit makes one a loser.
In fact, there is a whole sub-culture of authors and motivational speakers that extol the virtues of sticking with anything and everything we start with the dogged determination of a Kardashian seeking the media limelight. Just Google “never give up” and see what I mean.
Now I’m all for working hard and with determination. Grit and perseverance are surely desirable traits. But there is no question that giving up is often the absolute smartest thing we can do. Quitting is underrated.
If we value change we MUST deliberately choose to start things that we understand might not work. And that, by definition, means we begin knowing that quitting at some point is not only a real possibility but in many respects a desirable outcome, as it frees us up to pursue more productive and impactful paths.
If we subscribe to a strategy rooted in innovation, failure must be an option. While being unwilling to start in the first place is the biggest barrier to successful innovation, reluctance to give up on something that isn’t working is a close second.
When we know that our goal is desirable and that our path is clearly the best one, by all means we should do the Rick Astley thing.
But if we are honest, we’ll discover that many times we are lying to ourselves and we are merely afraid to fold on a losing hand.