Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve been thinking lately that you should quit something, whether it be a job, a class, or some other kind of commitment, but you haven’t yet because quitting will make you feel like a loser.
How many times have you heard the quote: “Winners never quit and quitters never win”?
How about “Failure only happens when you give up trying”?
“Quitting is for the weak”?
Do a quick google search or scan your brain for ideas injected by parents or teachers and you will find a slew of quotations with similar sentiments.
They are well-intentioned, but sometimes wrong.
While quotes and sentiments like these aim to boost you up, propel you forward, and make you feel good about yourself, the inverse effect can also result.
If you do end up quitting something (or even THINK about quitting something), you may beat yourself up, feel ashamed, and become stagnated.
I’m here to tell you that sometimes, the RIGHT thing to do is quit.
I recently flunked out of my nursing classes on purpose, because I decided that quitting them was exactly what I needed.
Should I quit?
Below are 5 considerations to determine whether quitting something might be the right move for you.
1. Sometimes shit ain’t right.
For the last year and a half, I have been slowly chipping away at prerequisite classes for nursing school.
I started slowly because I wasn’t sure if my brain and science were going to play well together, being the literary-minded English Major that I am.
After a semester of Human Anatomy and Physiology, I decided I could hack it. So I kept going.
But a year later, I could feel that something wasn’t right.
I wasn’t passionate about what I was learning. I wasn’t looking forward to going to class, which is unusual for me. It felt like a chore.
Imagining myself continuing on into a nursing program just didn’t feel like my path. One of the most important life lessons I think we can learn is to get in touch with our intuition or instincts, and then TRUST THEM.
I encourage you to strengthen your ability to hear your intuitive voice. This is something that comes through patience, practice, and paying attention.
2. Your happiness has insanely high value.
If I was already unhappy just PREPPING for nursing school, I wouldn’t have been happy IN nursing school and beyond.
I love myself too much to make myself keep spending precious hours of my finite life doing something that doesn’t make me happy. Plain and simple.
You need to do your own cost-benefit analysis around what you stand to gain from continuing on a path that makes you unhappy. You may decide that the benefits are worth the trouble and the time you spend on it.
I have found that of all of life’s struggles and situations, few are worth sacrificing your happiness for.
3. Is there something else you feel powerfully drawn to doing that is making you want to quit what you’re doing now?
If you can’t think of something right off the bat, it may be that you’re wanting to quit something just because it feels too challenging. Or you’re just feeling lazy. In that case, quitting may not be the best option.
But if you know right away what that something else is that you want to be doing, then you need to evaluate that thing and determine whether it’s worth pursuing or investing effort into.
For me, this other thing was starting a blog. I feel passionate about having a reason to write every day. About thinking up topics worthy of writing about
Trying out projects and crafts so I can write posts about them. I hope to really help people this way, and I’ve seen enough people succeed at making a living doing it that I believe I can do it too.
Now, I could help people working as a nurse and also make a good living, but ultimately, I feel more inspired to blog. One of my highest priorities in life is time freedom, and a blog would certainly grant me that.
I do not function well in a restrictive, 9-5 job where you PAINSTAKINGLY accumulate sick days and only get 2 weeks vacation a year. I desperately want to create a life that allows me to completely make my own schedule so I can travel the world and visit family whenever I want.
So that’s what I’m going to do.
I compared the two possible routes I could take. One will lead me to my ultimate goal, and the other will not. For me, that made a pretty convincing case for abandoning the nursing track.
4. You’ll save time, money, and other resources (energy, morale, etc.) by cutting out something that’s not serving you or contributing toward a goal/vision.
Once it became clear to me that nursing was not going to allow me to design the life I wanted and have complete time freedom, I felt pretty clear that I should probably not pursue it anymore.
But I still felt a little on the fence. Mostly because I had already invested a lot of time and money taking classes, and because I felt like I should “just stick with it.” I felt like people expected me to keep going or would be disappointed if I didn’t.
But then I did some quick math.
If I enrolled in the next class I needed, I would be spending a few hundred more dollars. More importantly, I would have to devote 18-20 hours a week between class time, homework, and studying.
That’s the equivalent of a part-time job.
A part-time job that I could spend growing my blog instead. That’s when the decision to quit became very easy for me. It was a complete no brainer.
An’ another thing. Having already invested time or money into something is NOT a good excuse on its own to continue pursuing something that you KNOW is not taking you where you want to go.
You can’t get that time or money back by sticking with something. But you can continue to waste time with the same project, or you can rip the bandaid off and make a change.
Think about your goals and visions. Think about your top priorities in life.
Then ask yourself “Is what I’m doing (that you’re thinking about quitting) directly contributing to that vision? Is there some other way I could better spend my time to move toward that goal?”
If you have an answer to that second question, it may suddenly seem ridiculous not to re-allocate your time to that.
5. Learn to recognize when you’re doing something you WANT to do versus doing something you’re good at or comfortable doing.
I’ve always been a good student. I feel most comfortable when I’m enrolled in a class, have homework to do, and have school provide the structure that I fit the rest of my life around.
Part of the reason I kept taking classes for nursing was because it felt easy and natural to take the classes, so I figured I must be onto the right thing.
But then I realized that I was confusing contentment, happiness, and passion with my academic comfort zone.
Just because I felt comfortable being in school for nursing DID NOT mean it was the right path for me.
Do some thinking about why you’re on the path you’re currently on.
Is it because it makes you happy or is necessary to move you toward a goal that you’re thrilled about? Or is it just easy for you to continue on that path?
Are you doing something that feels comfortable because you’re good at it, but ultimately doesn’t fulfill you?
I know it’s cliché, but I’m a big believer in people needing to be challenged in order to grow.
Being a student and doing homework is easy for me. Learning how to run a blog and creating an online business, starting at ZERO, is scary but exciting. So I’m taking the leap.
Do some thinking and make a decision.
Hopefully, with the tips above, it won’t take you long to make a decision about whether or not you should quit whatever is on the chopping block for you.
If you do decide to quit, remember that it may not always feel good at first. It felt awful and embarrassing to have to admit to everyone that I was leaving the nursing track behind.
Honestly, I didn’t even feel comfortable telling my boyfriend at first that I had stopped going to my class and didn’t finish the semester. I felt ashamed.
I avoided talking about it and changed the subject whenever it came up, hoping he would just assume that I finished everything just fine. But then he asked me point blank what was going on – did I finish the class? My final papers? Apparently, I was acting weird.
I came clean about it and admitted feeling ashamed, embarrassed, and not wanting him to be disappointed in me or judge me for quitting. After all, everyone says quitting is for losers.
But you know what?
He responded by telling me that he wished I had just been honest from the beginning.
That he’s not judging me – he’s quit classes too.
And he doesn’t care what I do or don’t do, as long as I am happy.
So I had inflicted a whole lot of suffering and anxiety on myself for no reason. Yay.
Now, I do want to include a couple of caveats, because I don’t want anyone throwing everything out the window because they read my blog post and haven’t given it some serious thought.
I’m not saying that you should quit something as soon as it gets hard. Just because something is challenging doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. As I said before, I believe that’s where most of our growth comes from.
So if you’re thinking about quitting because shit is getting hard, make a serious assessment. Get real with yourself. Are you wanting to quit because you don’t want to have to work hard? Or are you wanting to quit because you truly don’t feel passionate or fulfilled by what you are doing?
Secondly, I know you still have to put money in your pocket and make a living, so again I will say make a serious assessment. Get real. What can you afford to do? What’s your highest priority? What are you willing to do in order to make something you want work, or move toward your vision?
For me, that looks like living on a really tight budget and giving up certain luxuries for a while, and making lots and lots of deliveries for Postmates even though it’s not very fulfilling work, because it gives me the time freedom to work A LOT on my blog.
Dealing with doubt from others
Other people tried to convince me that I shouldn’t give nursing up – that it’s an in-demand, well-paying job, and that’s true. But most people are just fine working a 9-5. They don’t require the amount of time freedom I do, so they don’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be a nurse.
Some people didn’t understand why in the world I would start blogging instead of going with the sure thing. Because a lot of people are very risk-averse and think that taking this kind of a chance is crazy.
I’m okay with that. I’m doing it anyway because I know what’s right for me.
I just smile, try to be gracious, and tell them I understand and appreciate their concern.
Only YOU can prevent forest fires. And only YOU know what’s right for you.
Don’t let doubt from others create doubt in yourself.
Just because they don’t get it doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Now that I’ve made a commitment to myself and my blog, and eliminated the time-suck of classes I was feeling lukewarm about, I feel amazing. I have not given it a bit of second thought or an ounce of regret because I feel so good about what I am pursuing now instead.
What are you thinking about quitting? What have you quit before, and how did you feel after doing it? Let me know in the comments below! I really would love to hear from you.
Until next time.
P.S. If you’ve ever thought about quitting something in favor of pursuing blogging, make sure you learn from all the mistakes I’ve made so far!