Learning to know when to quit

Fact: you have limited time and resources available to you on this earth. You end up taking on too much and then feel guilty when you inevitably have to let some things slide. Learning to know when to quit is not something that comes naturally. Imagine our joy when we found discovered the concept of Positive Quitting. “Most of us view quitting as something negative… In reality, winners quit all the time: choosing to stop doing things that aren’t creating the results they desire”.

We got so excited by the idea of making a Personal Quit List, we jumped in right away. After all, it makes so much sense.


The writer of the original article’s Personal Quit List looks like this:

Second guessing myself after I’ve made a thoughtful decision

Dwelling on what could have been or what I should have done

Rushing and hustling to get more done at the sake of being fully present


What’s the bigger goal? If an item on the daily to-do list isn’t ultimately leading to the bigger goal, what’s it doing there? Scrap it – simple.


What we discovered, though, is that sometimes it’s obvious when something isn’t creating the results you desire. We know that second-guessing, dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, these aren’t ultimately helpful to anyone, and we instinctively know that.


But what if it really isn’t so obvious?


Jim Allen is the man behind the concept of “quit life, start living”. He says that we all strive for and chase after this elusive concept, this “dream life” – when really, life is what you get when you’re born, and living is what you do with it.


I found I struggled with this list, because what if the thing you’re quitting is a perfectly gorgeous life, a dream job teaching yoga, surrounded by beautiful friends and loved ones? It seemed so counter-intuitive, even to the point of being ungrateful. But that inescapable question: “If you were to stop doing this now, what would be possible for you?”


The answer for me: who knows? What more could I possibly want from a life? I don’t know. But I did manage to conclude: I’m quitting suppressing my sense of fun and adventure in order to seem like a rational, sensible grown-up. I feel the wildness of life and the call of the great unknown far greater than any doubt or fear of failure. Some may call this Extreme Positive Quitting. I call it living.


And while anxiety and doubt about whether I’m “wasting my life” are pretty much guaranteed to creep in every now and then, there’s nothing like bringing my focus back to the breath – back to the present unfolding all around me – to remind myself: this is living.