Giving Up Too Soon

We’ve all faced a point where we gave up on something before we should have.

There is a point where I’ve given up too soon on something, or someone. Maybe I come back to it later and it clicks.

But for various reasons, some people give up too soon on things.

  • They don’t like the feeling of being a beginner again.
  • They hate the lack of knowledge that they don’t have when starting new.
  • They hate the fact that they are overwhelmed by possibilities.

Before you know it, they’ve quit something before they’ve given it a fair shake.

They go back to what they were doing before, for better or for worse. For a few, it will be better as it allows them to focus on the things that really matter to them.

For most people, unfortunately, quitting is for the worse.

They don’t want to do something that pushes them outside their comfort zone, so they tread back into their gated community, behind their walls, and go on about their life just like things were before.

It’s a shame, really…

Maybe someone quit just before they were going to have a breakthrough.

I wonder how many people throughout history have written a book, and instead of handing it to someone else to say “read this”, they scrap it and never try again, or get 100 pages in and decide to back out.

I wonder how many people have tried to go to the gym, or start running, and give up after 2-3 weeks (if they get that far) after having been a couch potato for an untold number of years.

Give it 2-3 weeks and it’s back to normal.

It’s more comfortable to not release that book as opposed to what would happen if you did. It’s simply easier to fall back into old habits and just sit on your coach instead of getting into shape.

There’s also another case of quitting, and it happens after getting over that initial hump.

They’ve put some time into their craft, and they get over that initial hump, which stops a vast majority of people in their tracks, and they start to see major results. Then, the next major hump comes along. They get discouraged. Everything was clicking before. They were making such progress – and now? Their progress has (seemingly) stalled altogether.

They think they can’t cut it, and instead of pushing themselves to go forward, they give up there.

If anything, this point in the learning curve causes just as many people to quit as those who quit before they get over the initial hump.

I’ve almost quit improv a couple of times as a result of this. I got over that first hump, but when that next one came, it was just as daunting, and I nearly threw in the towel. After some more time at it, however, I was able to overcome that hump.

I know I’m going to face another one again.

In fact, i’d venture to say I’m facing one right now in regards to improv. However, I do realize that it is what it is, and if I keep pushing, I will do as the Doors say, and break on through to the other side.

It’s easy to get impatient when you’re not seeing the results.

The thing is, however, is that you are getting results, you just might not be seeing them. That’s why it’s important to write down your results to help see that progress that might not be visibly apparent. Over the last 2 months, I reinvigorated my workout routine by simply writing down my exercises and comparing them over time and seeing the improvements. Now, that progress is slowing down, and I’m not able to leap up in reps or weight as much as I did when I first started, but it’s still noticeable when I write it down. Even if it’s just another rep or two more than last time, that’s still progress.

In fact, the point of writing things down and measuring your progress is so important it’s a post I’ll do for another time.

There’s plenty to say on it and I feel I’ve said enough here.

So, when is it a good idea to quit something or give up on something to focus on something else?

That’s a very interesting question, and to be honest, one I don’t feel I have a great answer to. However, Seth Godin has a book that addresses this point, called The Dip, and it’s a fantastic read.