For some people, quitting comes too easily, too often, and applies to too many experiences in their lives. When excitement and novelty wear off, as invariably occurs with most things, those who have difficulty tolerating frustration or handling occasional or temporary boredom, are ready to move on. But boredom and frustration are not the only reasons we quit too soon. When something we are engaged in may prove too difficult and lead to humiliation and failure, we may convince ourselves that we are really not that interested anyway and quit. A person I know who finally fulfilled a long-standing desire to learn to play tennis, found it difficult to tolerate the frustration of not achieving instant excellence after six lessons. He made the case for quitting by denigrating the sport, suddenly worrying about the potential for physical injury, and being "too busy" to continue his 'inconvenient' lessons. Unfortunately, he could not or would not tolerate the road to mastery as a tennis player the way he had been able to sustain that on the way to a successful career as a patent attorney.
There are times, of course, when stopping something, as distinguished from quitting it, may be wise and well advised. It is important to recognize the differences between the two. Stopping implies a reevaluation of your decision to do or not do something for sound and valid reasons. Quitting implies giving up and releasing yourself from the burden of responsibility for your actions.
If any of the above-described behaviors applies to you, there are things you might do to help yourself:
- First, review the last time you quit something and review both the positive and negative consequences of having done so.
- Second, look at your present situation and try to determine the wisdom or lack of wisdom of quitting at this time.
- Third, ask for help from a trusted friend or colleague to review your choices in order to obtain a more objective view of your situation.
- Finally, if you are inclined to quit something, ask yourself why and why now. Are the reasons justifiable or are you simply looking to avoid something unpleasant, such as embarrassment or boredom.