Many of us seem to be praying to a god of unending, unrelenting perseverance.
If your social media experience is anything like mine, it’s not long before some form of never-give-up-ism hits your timeline. Then, most often, that person’s followers pile on with a hearty “you go girl”, #staystrong or encouragingly pithy aphorism (“it’s only a failure if you give up!”)
Not only is this way of thinking often wrong, it can go completely against our own best interests.
To be sure, grit and determination are admirable qualities. And you can count me as a super fan of working hard on the right things.
Nevertheless, failure IS an option and quitting is vastly underrated.
When I work with individuals and organizations two things typically prevent them for achieving the outcomes they need and desire: an inability to get started on important new initiatives and an unwillingness to let go of efforts that no longer serve them.
There are all sorts of reasons we cling to people and/or things long past their expiration dates. Our egos are too wrapped up in a particular outcome. We fail to ignore sunk costs. We don’t adequately understand opportunity cost. We’re afraid to admit that what got us started in the first place is no longer a valid reason to continue. We fundamentally misunderstand our ability to change things outside of our control. And so on.
Like it or not, we only have so much time. We only have so many resources. Attention remains our most valuable asset.
We should only water the flowers that have the potential to grow.