TED Conversations

Alex Hanse

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

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Do we judge quitters too harshly?

I have quit many things in my life. Bad Relationships, jobs that were not going anywhere, and even quit my walk of going into physical therapy school when I found my passion for music and the arts.

How can we make quitting more rewarding and not attack people for not wanting to stay stuck where they are?

What are the pros to quitting?

Does the quote: Winners never quit and Quitters never win really accurate?

Topics: Seth Godin
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    Sep 11 2013: Alex,
    Welcome to TED conversations:>)

    From reading your profile, it looks like you believe that you have learned from past experiences. It also appears that you are wise enough to know when it is time to move in another direction. Why do you want to call it quitting?

    I perceive the life adventure as an exploration from which I can learn, grow and evolve. With that in mind, I have changed directions many times, and with each and every step, I have learned something.

    If you moved on from a relationship that was not good, perhaps you learned more about what you really want in relationship? If you moved on from a job in which you were not content, perhaps you learned more about what you really want in a job situation? You learned about your passion for music and the arts, so you moved on from believing that physical therapy was your passion?

    I suggest that one way to "make quitting more rewarding", is to have a different perspective? Starting with not calling it quitting, but rather recognize it for what it is.....exploration:>)
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      Sep 11 2013: Or one could think of it as making a choice to change.
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        Sep 11 2013: True Fritzie.....that might work too!

        I believe that we program our mind with the words we use, so if we change the words, it sometimes changes our perception. Change our thinking, it may change our feelings, which may contribute to changing our life experience:>)

        When we think of "quitting", it sometimes means..."to give up; released from obligation, charge, or penalty; to cease normal, expected or necessary actions..."

        When we make a choice regarding change, it can be a very beneficial move in our life exploration.

        Alex asks..."Do we judge quitters too harshly? I have quit many things in my life".

        In my perception and practice, there is no judgment when a person chooses to move on to something different, and/or change something in the life experience.
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    Sep 15 2013: There are several ways to look at quitting. Continuing on a wrong course? You must correct and sometimes you must quit because of this realization. It's like throwing good money after bad. This is a positive quit. Quitting when losing a game has a negative, pouting quality.
    Last but maybe most important - it's YOUR life, why should you live it as you were thinking when you were a teen or a graduate. And also you must consider the source of the condemnation for quitting. Are these folks sour grape types, resenting the fact that you had the audacity to follow your instincts while they played it safe and lived their lives in quite desperation? AHA!
    "......“When seeking guidance, don't ever listen to the tiny-hearted. Be kind to them, heap them with blessing, cajole them, but do not follow their advice.”
    ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype...."
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    Sep 11 2013: Yes, I just finish reading that book and that is what sparked my thoughts on this subject. All this time we have made quitting seem like a bad thing when in reality...It is a great thing to do!
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    Sep 11 2013: One of our TED speakers, Seth Godin, has written a little book on the importance of knowing when to stick with something and when to let it go and how to make that evaluation. Sticking with a losing proposition is unproductive and diverts energy from productive undertakings.
  • Sep 17 2013: most times quitting is not the problem its what u quit for .. weather its important or not and no we dont judge quitters too harshly . And the quote "quitters never win" is infact really accurate.
  • Sep 15 2013: I remember when someone said giving up is a way of letting things go.
    That was like the coolest thing I’d ever heard at that time.
    And I still believe that.
    Sometimes we have to learn to let it go.
  • Sep 13 2013: There are distinctions here. When most people think of "quitting" it is because of a problem involving the lack of will or other form of moral weakness. The other aspect is that sometimes we do not see the entire picture of a situation or we just misapprehend what is going on. Success in this case involves reframing our approach to the problem or acquiring a better understanding of what is going on.

    So the real question here is one of knowing whether or not we're throwing good effort down a black hole or if we are quitting out of lack of courage. How can we tell? What questions can we ask and what tools are at our disposal to help in making these types of decisions?
  • Sep 11 2013: I agree with Colleen - Alex you are not quitting. You are moving from a bad situation to what you want to do. Just always have a backup plan, music and art are great but you need to buy food.
  • Sep 18 2013: As long as you are in the drivers seat of your life and pursue your dream you are not a quitter, but when you allow others to sit in the drivers seat of you life and quit following your dreams , then you are quitter.
  • Sep 18 2013: that's a really good question! as a teacher of nearly 2000 students over 10 years now, i think i've seen the results of both quitting too soon and not quitting soon enough. anything is had to do really well, and if you never work through the difficulties, you never get really good at anything. on the other hand though, not everybody is going to be very good at everything, and spending a lot of time struggling to get through difficulties without really getting any better at doing so only means you're not instead using that time to try something else you might be able to become really good at.
  • Sep 18 2013: I quit when I'm not satisfied.
  • Sep 15 2013: Sometimes, It is important to find my own way quickly. Do one's best is one thing and success in life could be another. Mostly, these two concepts are related with each other but there are possibilities that this saying does not be applied. What makes troubles is quitting too early without any effort. But if quitting realize in a positive way, like specializing one's field more earlier than remaing useless field in vain.
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    Sep 14 2013: I guess it depends on how we characterize quitters.

    Basically we only need water, air, food and comfort to survive in our world. Comfort defines those things which induce us to find enjoyment in life and, hence, continue to strive to live. Take away any one of these and we fail to survive.

    Air is easy. Water is also easy but can be difficult in some Geo-locations. Food can also be difficult. Comfort is usually defined within cultural settings and personal desires.

    If we don't meet the guidelines of a culture, we could be classified as a quitter but if we meet our personal goals, we are fine in our own mind.

    One day I was waiting for the bus to go to school in the central park in my hometown. The usual crowd was there including the organizations that feed the homeless people. The homeless gathered around for their daily bread. After eating, a small group of four young people stood licking their fingers and discussing what they were going to do with the rest of the day. They decided that they would pan-handle some change, take the bus to the beach and spend the rest of the day soaking up some sun.

    I guess we could say they were quitters but, they had the basics taken care of and were headed for some comfort in the sun while the rest of the people worked hard at their mundane lives, making money to support their sense of comfort.

    In one sense you have a small group who strive for comfort while the others give up their comfort to maintain a smaller sense of comfort on the weekends. Who's really living life to it's fullest? Some people partially, quit living, and become worker slaves in order to live their life of comfort for a shorter period of time.

    If you are comfortable with your life, I wouldn't label you a quitter.
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    Sep 14 2013: I think maybe your problem is how to successfully let you stakeholders not be annoyed or disappointed by your quit. This may be challenging but if you think you've made the right choice, it's worth your try. Just hang in there and you'll pull it off.
  • Sep 14 2013: Perosnally, I think there are some things that need to be quit on - a job that you dont enjoy, a relationship that is causing you harm, or a habit that is worsening your way of life.

    As an athlete, I have heard this quote uttered from my parents, coach, teammates and managers and in relation to some things, i believe this to be 100% true. If i quit training every time i was tired and if i dropped the weights every time they got heavy, there is no possible way i could ever get better or even hope to succeed, however, if i made the decision to stick with a job that i hated, i could miss out on an opportunity to honestly and amazingly change my life.

    I think that you have to use your common sense in relation to what to "quit" on and what to stick with. Sometimes not relinquishing something that is long overdue is quitting on yourself, and there is nothing worse than believing you dont deserve better.
  • Sep 14 2013: Any conscious judgment is not my job and when I engage in it I foolishly waste what little time I have been granted. The phrase I'll sleep on it is not just a bit of precious wisdom it is absolutely the best option if available. WHY?? I thought you might ask so I'll ramble on. First of all some people when presented with a question want and wisely try to get as much current information available before making a choice. To me that is the most important advantage of computers because through the internet we now have access to almost all knowledge on earth and we can in seconds accumulate, sort and prioritize information. That leaves us plenty of time for the important stuff like living, loving and sharing.

    When I go to sleep my brain proposes the questions I have accumulated during the day to the sub-conscious and it then searches everything I have ever known for possible solutions.
    If it still cannot find an acceptable answer then it puts in a request for "other" information (I'm guessing you will have a problem with this next part but I will tell it as I understand it) other being pretty wide open for instance I believe there is what I call universal knowledge that people can access in dreams or visions. Some difficult problems are not solved overnight and remain on the list until they are solved.
    I believe that when I am asleep I make better judgments because I have more information available, I am not it a hurry, and emotions do not play a part. As far as quitting, we start and stop tasks all day, quitting is a natural and necessary cleansing function.
  • Sep 13 2013: Do we judge . . . too harshly? Fill in the blank and the answer is yes, because it is not our place to judge the choices others make. We can evaluate what we know about others' choices and offer criticism or support when the relationship makes it appropriate, but that assumes that we have some reasonable standard for making that evaluation. Evaluation is a personal assessment based on as-objective-as-possible criteria. Judgment is an exercise of the ego.
  • Sep 13 2013: 'Winners never quit and Quitters never win' is a BELIEF. For Heaven's sake, DON'T QUIT doubting ALL BELIEFS. For the YOU that Believes will remain imprisoned for the rest of its life. Entertain EVERYTHING. Believe NOTHING.

    As for worrying about others......worry about yourself. Know yourself. That is all. Do not worry what others should or should not do.

    .....just my two pennies. Don't take my word for it. :-)
  • Sep 13 2013: Sometimes, it's not the thing that couldn't attract your attention,but yourself.Maybe when you change your attitude,when you really go into something and focus on it,you will no longer have this thought. People do judge,but if you support yourself,will other's opinions bother you? So, the problem lies in yourself.It's you the one who judges.
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    Sep 12 2013: All good thoughts everyone! Feel free to add me on whatever social networks you can find so we can connect and share this good energy some more! Preferably linkedin if I had a choice! Look forward to hearing more thoughts and having more conversations!
  • Sep 12 2013: Quitting versus a change in direction are two different things. You changed direction from physical therapy to music. Quitting is when you make a commitment to someone , an activity, or anything else and you do not want to follow through with your commitment. Like being President of an organization for a year then resigning (quitting) not living up to your commitment -in most cases the person wanted the glory but not the work.

    Quitting deserves a negative connotation because one is not living up to their commitment. Its ok to leave a bad relationship when it is unhealthy for you--abuse, infidelity, etc. Its quitting a relationship when you leave wife and kids because you do not want the commitment or responsibility of those relationships -basically you are a selfish dick.

    No one wants to be around a quitter, but it is ok to change course as long as you live up to your commitments.
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      Sep 12 2013: Spencer is right, they are two different things. I change direction almost daily because I believe reinventing myself is critical to success in all things in life.

      The answer to all things, from my perspective, is to remain objective about each act on a case by case basis. Black and white doesn't exist all the time. Context matters. History matters. Intent matters. If you quit something, you need to start asking yourselves questions. Why do I want to quit? Are their external obligations that will be negatively effected due to my quitting? Did I quit because I thought I was more interested in this particular hobby than I actually was? Do I quit something each week or just every once in a blue moon?

      If you'll notice the negative connotations that are involved when their are others involved are much more serious than if you quit something that does not effect others. If your quitting is disrespectful to others then it most certainly should be judged as negative.
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    Sep 12 2013: Now the true fact is you can find people actually don't judge quitters harshly.
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    Sep 11 2013: External judgment of importance to me, never judged me on this ... and those who did, became of less importance.
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    Sep 11 2013: there are two errors you can make, quitting when you should not quit, and not quitting when you should quit. if your gps always says "turn left", you know it's broken. when you are always told you should not quit...
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    Sep 11 2013: alex, if you want more time on your conversation, click "edit" and add more time. Right now you have 18 hours.