Persistence is said to be an incredibly powerful thing. There have been countless examples of how persistence has rescued people from hopeless situations. Because they pushed on and never gave up in the face of setbacks, sooner or later they succeeded.
However, there have also been many examples of misguided persistence where people persisted for so long that they dug themselves into a deep hole they could never get out of.
Like anything else in life, it too can lead to both good or bad consequences, depending upon how and where it is directed.
Here are 6 situations when giving up is acceptable or even advisable:
1. When what you are doing will harm you
You aren’t going to say that “winners never quit and quitters never win” applies to smoking or doing drugs are you? If you are following self destructive habits you are in trouble.
If you are eating food that will harm you in the long run or are following a lifestyle which clearly is not going to result conducive to your goal or your health, it’s time to give it up.
2. When you hate what you do
Passion is extremely important for success because unless you love what you do, it is going to drain the life force out of you, especially when things get tough.
If you hate what you do, even if you get the money, your quality of life will be horrible because all the money will not be able to buy you any happiness, peace or even quality sleep.
If you hate something to the point that you feel that it is sucking everything good out of your life, it is okay to give it up. But if it is a stable job you plan to quit, saving up as much as you can before quitting is advised.
“You have to do what you love to do, get get stuck in that comfort zone of a regular job. Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it.” – Lucinda Basset
3. When you have given your absolute best and there is no sign of a reward in the future
Sometimes people keep doing what they don’t enjoy, especially when they have a family to feed, because they are at least getting some reward out of it. But then there are also times, when you neither enjoy what you do nor do you get a justifiable reward for it.
There are times, when you have given your absolute 200 percent into something, have tried every strategy possible that you know of, but things just don’t seem to be changing.
At that time you need to be honest with yourself whether it is even worth it to continue. If you are so in love with what you are doing that you can’t imagine a life doing anything else, only then should you continue. But be prepared for the possibility that the reward may not always come.
4. When you just can’t become good at what you do, no matter how hard you try
It is not a bad idea to move on to something else when you lack any aptitude for what you do. Sure, hard work and dedication will make you much better at what you do, but you have to be honest with yourself. Will all your hard work and dedication actually improve your skill by such a huge degree that you can make a great profession out of it?
If no amount of practice leads to such an improvement that you can objectively become a pro at something, you are probably going to be wasting time in it. It is probably wise to move on to something that is actually your strength. Your chances of getting the reward you deserve will skyrocket.
5. When you get no respect
Sometimes you may actually be incredibly talented and hardworking. And yet you are not being appreciated and are constantly being ignored or exploited.
If you have to constantly deal with egotistic people whose main motive in life seems to keep you down just because they dislike you, it is going to be incredibly hard to succeed in that kind of environment.
In this situation you don’t have to quit the industry you are in altogether, you just have to quit the toxic situation that is bothering you at present. The decision may not be easy if you are getting some cash to stay complacent. However, if you want to realize your true potential, you will have to make the switch.
“At the end of the day, you can focus on what’s tearing you apart, or what’s holding you together.” – Unknown
6. When times have changed or there are better opportunities
If you are driving a car, should you only look at the road ahead or should you also be aware of any vehicles coming from behind or sideways at intersections? If you only look at the road ahead, a car will ram into you from sideways or behind and you won’t even be able to avoid it.
Focus can sometimes distract you from spotting opportunities that are way better or from threats that are coming your way. If you are in the candle making industry, your business would have been affected when the light bulb was invented, no matter how hard you persevered.
If you were making pagers, your business would go down with the advent of smartphones no matter how hard you tried to maintain growth. Unless you’re passionate only about making candles or pagers and don’t care about the money, you should probably change direction with changing times.
Persistence is not a universally potent quality that will always lead to favorable end results. Persistence has to be coupled with awareness and knowledge. Contrary to popular belief, quitters can win, especially when quitting is used as a strategy to keep pushing on in a new, fruitful direction.
However, don’t use this as an excuse to quit at the first sign of setback. At the end of the day, intelligent persistence, when directed properly is indeed what will set you apart from others, and coupled with luck (which you have no control over), it is going to be one of the most decisive factors for your success.