Watching the Olympics with friends has led to some interesting discussions. Along with breathless wonder at the athletes’ skills and endurance, the conversation inevitably turned to quitting. Is it OK to quit, or is it letting down your team and country?
For me, at the Olympics, Simone Biles exemplified compassionate courage. In everyday life, a hiking friend left the group, with it’s not all about me courage. The leader I admire courageously stepped aside. Each of them decided to quit. Should we criticize or admire?
Before you answer that question, consider it takes zero experience to be a critic. It takes years of observation to recognize authentic reasoning.
To quit means to stop and let go of what you are doing. Sometimes that’s the only choice. Sometimes it’s the best option. The gymnast believed she would hold back her team. The hiker said ... go ahead, I’ll slow you down. An unselfish leader saw the need for change. The words they use are telling: Don’t knowingly hold someone back. Go ahead. I’ll follow at my pace. To grow we must try something new.
From our earliest days we’re taught quitting is weak, quitting is not an option. We discover as we mature that there is a difference between quitting and giving up. Quitting means taking time to think. Giving up means resigning yourself to failure.
One of my favorite Kenny Rogers songs, is The Gambler: You gotta know when to hold; know when to fold; know when to walk away and know when to run.
The key word in this song is ‘know.’ Know yourself. Know why you are folding. Know what you believe the outcome will be. Know you can always start again.
I never thought I’d say this, but sometimes it’s the ones who quit (take time to think) who help us see what’s possible.
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