Thaddea Thompson

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When is it time to quit? And how does one know?

My class was discussing this topic. And while I may sound like a fool I don't think anyone should ever give up.

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    Mar 30 2013: Thaddea,
    Quit what? It looks like, based on your "topics", that you want to address "abuse", "relationships", and "risks"......risks regarding relationships? All risks in general? Your topic question seems unclear.

    If we know ourself, our goals, desires, preferences, and what we wish to create in the life experience, we can "feel" when something is not working well. Rather than the preception of quitting, or giving up, there are times when it is time to move in another direction.

    "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference".

    If we have carefully evaluated all information regarding a situation, have done our best to contribute to the success of a situation, and the circumstances do not change, it may be time to go in another direction. If we have been trying to force something....a relationship....a job situation....etc., it may feel like we are giving up or quitting, when we are actually taking another path.

    When we evaluate all information and choose another path, it is a realization that we have done our best in that situation, hopefully have learned with the process, and we recognize that we are either not willing to change our "self", and we cannot change other people.....make any sense?
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      Mar 30 2013: You make a good point that the word "quit" has a negative connotation and labeling an action as quitting may interfere with people's making wise changes.
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        Apr 2 2013: What about quitting smoking?

        That should be seen as a good choice and a positive outcome.

        There are often wise choices that involve quitting.

        Gaining the wisdom is the tricky part.
  • Mar 31 2013: It is time to quit when you no longer have the authority or capacity to act in a situation that has become unmanageable.
  • Apr 10 2013: If you are doing something that is in conflict with your inner drive, attitude or beliefs you should usually quit.
  • Apr 7 2013: If you are thinking about quitting and having doubts then it is time to quit.
    doubt leads to fear, fear lead to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.
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    Apr 2 2013: It depends on the situations (mental and the actual/real) and circumstances. Many people might have different views but what i have learnt was, there are those who think that quitting is only for losers and not quitting means your a tough nut, macho, die hard etc.
    I really can't have an objective on when it is time to quit, but i also felt that quitting is a subjective point of view, some people have quit many times mentally but not engage in the physical act of quitting.
    Speaking from experienced, i have quitted my well paid job due to lack of intellectual satisfaction and fortunately found another one but with less salary. sometimes i used to remember y past job at the end of the month when i went to collect my salary for my present job, i can say honestly it does felt bad but it doesn't last too long, since the present job have other good side which i haven't had before in my old job and that is quality time.
    What i can say is that take a proper examination of the present situation and if you feel like quitting do it because there's always a brighter side in post-quitting. Ergo,The time for quitiing is anytime that you feel it is the right time.
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    Apr 1 2013: Hi Thaddea,

    I think the answer to your question relies on ultimately how much control you have in your desired goal. If you are in complete control of your destiny then of course you should not quit, thus would be wrong & you may be in a position of regret later in life.

    However, if ultimately it does not matter how hard you try & the reaching your goal is reliant on other factors that will not 'align' in the right way for you then perhaps then, and only then, should you contemplate quitting something.

    Perhaps then you are not necessarily quitting though, but more attempting to achieve the same goal but in a different way / from a fresh perspective.

    Hope this helps!
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    Mar 29 2013: This question seems to lack context. I have noticed that it is difficult to give a meaningful answer to a question without context.
    • Mar 30 2013: I was just thinking the same thing. The context for the question would be helpful as it seems a very broad topic.

      If the question is about abuse and relationships, quit and get out if the relationship is abusive just to keep yourself safe. Beyond that, more information is needed to understand what is being asked.
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        Mar 30 2013: Yes. The answer, very much, depends on the context. If we talk about quitting smoking, the answer is "now". Confusing contexts is what makes the saying "rehab is for quitters" so funny. If we talk about fighting for someone's life or success in business, then "never give up" sounds like a good stance. But without context, it's hard to say anything meaningful.

        The same can be said of the other recent thread "what do we get if we try to fail and succeed?" In certain contexts, this may have meaning, but not in general.

        I think, always providing a context for a question is a good rule (unless, of course, our goal is to get some great philosophical or humorous quotes).
        • Mar 30 2013: See, and I have plenty of good quotes. It is a difficult topic to attack with an unclear goal in mind.
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    Mar 28 2013: You don't lose until you give up.
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      Mar 29 2013: Whoa! Nonsense.
      You're losing all the time until you win. You could be investing your time and effort in something more productive. You can't hope to complete everything you start so quitting the poor performers and sticking longer with the better ones is an essential part of success.
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        Mar 29 2013: Your saying prioritize, ok.
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          Mar 30 2013: No I'm not. There are plenty of times when you should quit regardless of any other project. If something isn't getting anywhere then bail out and save your daily investment of worry/money/hassle.
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        Mar 29 2013: Peter are you implying that quitting is a part of success?
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          Mar 30 2013: Yes. Decision making means selecting from choices. If you've made a bad one then recognise it, accept it and learn from it. 'Wishing it wasn't so' is a recipe for failure.
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        Mar 29 2013: Productivity is just one measure of success. Success may also be found in the doing, regardless of conventional measures of "success."
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          Mar 30 2013: Bad use of semantics. Success is achieving a goal. Productivity means effort expended in relation to rewards. Let me suggest what you meant was 'rewards do not have to come from achieving goals.' So for example even though you didn't get accepted for the athletics team all that training has made you a lot fitter.
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        Apr 2 2013: “When is it time to quit?” In a way, TED tells us when to quit, since we’re only given so many response possibilities in the “conversation” before the ability to reply dries up. So I’m jumping back one level to reply:

        I had written, as a reply to a reply of yours, “Productivity is just one measure of success. Success may also be found in the doing, regardless of conventional measures of success."

        You treated me to this corrective:
        Bad use of semantics. Success is achieving a goal. Productivity means effort expended in relation to rewards. Let me suggest what you meant was … etc

        Now, I appreciate correction as much as the next man, but not so much when the correction is erratic. Your judgement of “bad use of semantics” is false and seems to be based on a limited understanding of certain words. You claim that “success” and “productivity” have one and only one meaning. That’s perhaps true for a project engineer on the job, but in the wider world they each have a wider meaning. So it turns out that the semantics were perfectly acceptable and reasonably clear to someone who can get outside of jargon. One can certainly have successes that don’t involve having set the outcome as a goal, and productivity, which you define as E/R, can mean so much more, as is generally understood.
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    Mar 27 2013: Your question asks when it is time to quit. The first thing that came to mind to me is that we all have more ideas than we have the time and energy to pursue and so are faced with choices of which to pursue and which not. As a practical matter, we may need to stop working on some things that are not bearing the sorts of fruit we hope for or that we decide are not high priorities for us and to focus our attention on things that are more compelling to us. One of Seth Godin's books, I think The Dip, is specifically on this question of when to stop working at something in order to allocate personal energy and resources to something more compelling.

    Then I looked at the topics you tagged for this conversation and saw "abuse" and "relationships" as tags. This made me wonder whether you are asking about quitting a relationship in which one is being abused.

    This is a very specific issue. Is this the one that is the focus of your current concern?
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      Mar 27 2013: yes.
      yes because if you have ever read the boook "their eyes were watching god" the character Janie goes through som abusive settings.
  • Apr 10 2013: Quit if there's too many burden/priorities falling onto oneself that affects your value in life, or you have finally verified/get an answer towards something that you were questioning? I do think that there is a reason one person has chosen to be involved in something. I only definite answer that I can give is don't quit because you've met an obstacle and one should understand that challenging an obstacle often bring you satisfaction, confidence and a story to tell, or perhaps a better future.
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    Apr 8 2013: The organizers of what was supposed to be the TEDx West Hollowood event didn't give up.

    The discussion regarding the exTED West Hollywood event was closed down early, and many of the comments criticizing TED were censored by TED. But thankfully, the event will still be held... without censorship!

    And without TED!
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    Apr 7 2013: Quitting never really happes. It is much like a novel. You read on. The pages keep on going till the end of the story. The pages exist in the past read. It is the composer of the novel that ends the story. At that point you no longer have a choice.

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    Apr 7 2013: Its time to quit a relationship when you are on a catch-22 and you start to change your personality in a negative way and different from your core personality. In addition to that, people dont quit in bad relationships because they are lost and need to realise by their own that there is no further step from your partner to a next level.
  • mary T

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    Apr 7 2013: Hi, Thaddea, I observe that the topics for the question include "abuse, relationships, risks." If your question is when to quit an abusive relationship, my answer is --> NOW. If you are in a relationship with someone who physically brutalizes you, get out. If you are in a relationship with someone who emotionally belittles and denigrates you, get out. Why is that my advice? because you yourself can not control or change another human being. You may have some power over yourself, but you have zero zero, zero over anyone else -- even if that person loves you or says he loves you or needs you or says he needs you. That need or love will not motivate that person to change himself while you stay the same, and you WILL stay the same and be a victim until you are gone gone gone.

    It's not a matter of" giving up." It's a matter of giving permission to both parties to change and grow, of not getting stuck in the muck and quicksand of a sick relationship.

    Abusive relationships are a dynamic where you both get something, but what you get can eventually kill you. Be honest with yourself. Does it please you when he comes crawling to make up after hurting you? Do you get financial support or social cred from the relationship? Whatever is in it for you, it's not going to be enough in the long run to sustain you. It's bad for you, bad for him, even worse for any children you produce.

    So, I tailored my answer to the topics you associated with your question. It might have been a different answer if those topics had not caught my eye. For example, I would never give up educating myself, reading, hoping. But I would always try not to be stuck in something sick and harmful.

    Best wishes, Mary
  • Apr 2 2013: I'm always in favor of man evolving for the sake of the greater good. I feel like we hold a certain sense of pride with the word "quit". Quitting doesn't always mean we're completely letting ourselves (or our path) down. A lot of the time, quitting can simply mean that we're altering our path and heading in a new direction - a better direction.

    You can look at it in terms of some of the greatest minds, like Steve Jobs, who had to "quit" or be "let go" from different positions just to end up being the man he was. Or the fact that Kobe had to quit soccer to be the NBA athlete we all grew to respect.

    When is it time to quit? When letting something go can make something of much more value that much more accessible. That's when you quit.
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    Apr 2 2013: To quit is to stop doing something especially permanently. The implication is that sometimes, quitting is a sign that you have the strength to give up what is not bearing you fruit. So QUIT when you feel/notice that you are putting in more than you'll get out of something!
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    Apr 2 2013: Not necessary to quit. If you quit, you failed. That's it
    • Apr 3 2013: In thinking about this topic, the examples of Hitler and the WWII Japanese come to mind.
      Hitler wouldn't give up, he took tens of thousands down with him.
      The Japanese ditto.
  • Apr 2 2013: ...when your actions and path is not heading towards your goal, your own goal...The Mindfood Chef
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    Apr 1 2013: I think you can "quit" without having to die. If people could see ways others cope, possibly a site where people help other people and share the ways they cope with their own demons/problems. When I was younger, and even up until I went through a divorce a few yrs back I would do things that I didnt really think about then but I do now. like get new clothes, change my hair completely, change my makeup and even act different, mostly more confident, nobody would have ever guess I was that Im a little older I find peace in keeping my faith and knowing it his Gods Plan. That simply isnt enough for some though, and I really support projects like post secret that help people feel not so alone in this big big world.
  • Apr 1 2013: Okay, let's hypothesize you are investing effort X into an activity with a positive outcome Y. Expending effort X will produce a probability of Y. Let's assume that X and Y can be measured in the same unit (call it personal value). So if X = 1 and Y = 100 the tipping point for P is 1%. Let's use a real world example. You are applying CPR. The effort of spending time pumping on someones chest we will call 1 and the value of saving a life we will call 1,000,000. This means you should continue to apply CPR until there is only a 0.00001% that your efforts will revitalize the person. The calculation is simple so the trick is in analyzing the values of X, Y, and P. Since the notion of personal integrity and never giving up can be added to Y you can have people who don't believe in quitting, but I reckon none of those people would be applying CPR to a rotting body so they are really just loading in extra value to Y.
  • Apr 1 2013: when there is no meaning anymore. but in condition You really know clearly and can feel clearly
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    Mar 31 2013: I'm not a quitter, but sometimes it's required to quit i.e. time limit for changing x, it shouldn't be eternal.
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    Mar 30 2013: We, the world, the universe, all are constantly changing. There is never any stability. To quit? Whatever the situation is you must listen to yourself, to your inner mind. That may not be easy, because your ego will interfere, will want to insist you take one course of action. Push that aside - and meditation can help - and the real 'you' (whatever that is) will give you the answer you need.

    Just move on. Keep a smile on your face, and try to keep love in your heart.

    If that fails, throw a tantrum and storm away!
  • Mar 30 2013: If you love that person you gotta let em go. If it was meant to be, they will return. Hardest thing to do but very necessary. If you don't quit, you'll end up damaging the relationship beyond repair or add to the problem unintentionally.
  • Mar 30 2013: When you hit rock bottom.
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    Mar 28 2013: I do not mean to limit you all with these three tags. Please respond however you want.
  • Mar 28 2013: This is a good question in general, and like many issues, the best answer is to think ahead.

    This is basically a value question. Just how much negative stuff are you willing to endure to continue the undertaking? Whether the specific issue is relationships, starting a business, a job, or any other long term, highly valued endeavor, the time to think about quitting is before you begin.

    Regarding relationships, I decided many years ago that if someone gets physically violent, it is time to end the relationship, immediately, no second chances. It is more difficult to draw the line with verbal and emotional abuse, so those issues require more consideration.
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    Mar 28 2013: By your tags I assume you limit abusive relationships .... non-abusive relationships ... and risk taking.

    1) Abusive relationships: The problem is that it is hard to convince someone they are being abused. In law enforcement one of the wrost calls in domestic violance (I suggest you talk to a local police about this) in many cases the person being abused defendes the abuser thinking that they "caused" the problem and will not sign a complaint. Even if seperated the abused person often returns to the abuser asking for forgivness or enters another relationship with another abuser. Typically they have no self respect and very low esteme.

    2) Non-abusive relationships: There are as many reasons to stay as there is to leave. IMO, communications is the most important part of any relationship. Together you must decide where this is going ... how far each of you want it to go ... without a open and honest line of communications the relationship is, or soon will be, doomed.

    3) Risks: In the above the risks include physical abuse or worse ... emotional ... reputation ... children put at risk ... and a host of other factors. In the business world we always weigh losses versus gains ... in science it is about the same as research requires funding. As an example many businesses have folded knowing that with the federal mandate (in the USA) on insurance that the profit margin would vanish and so they disolve the company rather than to operate at a loss. That is the bottom line in business .... profit.

    As for your comment, "I don't think anyone should ever give up". I do not want anyone to become a quiter ... but. Each event must be evaluated seperately on its own merits. In law enforcement, again, do you know how hard it is to return children to abusive parents because some judge says to .. and it is the third time the kids were beat up and sent to the hospital .. the next one they could be dead.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Mar 28 2013: Life is short; so many good things compete for our attention. However some things are important. It is all about getting your priorities right; and there is a time and a season for everything.
    It takes wisdom to know when to hold on and when to let go. So, yeah, seek wisdom above all things.
    It will save you a lot of uneccessary stress.
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    Mar 27 2013: Well, Thaddea, sometimes you quit because you realize you were seeking the wrong thing. Or you might quit if you're seeking the right thing, but it's not worth the effort it takes to get it. In general, I'm with you. If something matters to you, and you think you're right, never give up.
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    Mar 27 2013: I think this is one of the most interesting questions! There is a beautiful bit of Dakota Indian Tribal wisdom that translates as: "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."

    Here is an 11 minute series of interviews I conducted a few years ago on how this bit of Dakota Tribal wisdom applies to this very question: Hope you enjoy!

    There are times to give up. The art of success in life is knowing when to go on, and when to call it quits.
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    Mar 27 2013: Sometimes it is time to quit and start something else.
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    Mar 27 2013: The topics you use are abuse, relationships and risk so I will answer in relation to these.

    If you are in an abusive relationship, I see no value in staying. To leave is the most respectful thing you can do for yourself. Further, if you have a child it is even more important you end the relationship or just walk out, since children are very sensitive to vibes and violence and can be damaged by prolonged exposure.

    If you are being abused in a community e.g. because you are different in some way, it may be possible to gain support from other people in the community who may well stand with you to stop the abuser. If this is not possible, I'd always opt for quality of life over personal pride.

    If you are being abused at work - record all events (a smart phone is useful for this as they have an audio recorder built in) Once you have enough evidence, take it to the most senior manager / HR officer / union rep and take action under their anti-bullying policy. Don't expect support from your colleagues - there is often a climate of fear in work places where a bully operates. If your employer fails to protect you - quit and move on - if at all possible.

    The reason why I advocate moving on, is that I stuck it in a job with a psychopath and it damaged my health. I was recommended the following book which I found useful.

    A good (short and inexpensive) book available on Kindle UK £6.40 US$9.75 "Depressive Illness: the curse of the strong" by Dr Tim Cantopher - It's well worth a read if you are uncertain about keeping going or letting go. It puts things into perspective.
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      Mar 27 2013: thanks heather.
      by the way i like you profile picture.
  • Mar 27 2013: Understand it fully. Then the question of whether it is to be quit will cease through the intelligence that emerges.