“Never give up,” is a common piece of advice that we’re given when we’re facing difficulties. People think giving up is not an option, as we often hear about successful people who plow through obstacles to achieve greatness.
The truth is, successful people give up a lot. They turn knowing when to quit into an art form. Yes, there will be times on your journey when you’ll need to soldier on in spite of difficult odds, but sometimes you have to close one door in order to open another.
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Steve Jobs gave up a lot of production lines and made 3000 people lose their jobs
In 1997, Apple was facing strong competition from Microsoft. As Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs was responsible for spearheading many of the changes that led to the company’s success. Many of the modifications that Jobs made involved axing old initiatives to trim the fat.
Macintosh was producing hardware, desktops, and servers when Jobs intervened. All of these product lines were cut in order to allow the company to focus on four main products.
Looking back, we recognize that Jobs made the right decision. Hindsight is funny that way–we see the value in him making such deep cuts to Macintosh’s initiatives because we know how successful the company became.
I’m willing to bet that at the time people were fairly disgruntled by these changes. Over 3,000 people lost their jobs and 70% of Apple’s products were discontinued. This might have looked like grounds for disaster because he was giving up so much.
When we cut things from our lives or businesses, it feels like we’re losing. There’s this shame around giving up on something you’ve worked for. But giving up doesn’t mean that you lack perseverance. Nobody wants to be considered a quitter, just sometimes you have to make cuts in order to realize a broader vision.
3 things successful people give up
Sometimes persistence will yield better results than quitting, but you’ll have to weigh your options. There are a few things that you can give up right away to pave the way for a more successful future.
Things that worked in the past but are no longer viable
We live in a fast-paced world, and what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. Whether you’re running a business or managing your life, staying up to speed on what’s happening in the world is essential. Being able to anticipate change can give you a chance to alter your course while incurring less cost.
Abandoning things that no longer serve you can be challenging. It’s easy to fall prey to the Sunk Cost Fallacy, which is the idea that you need to continue on a certain path because you have already invested time, energy, and resources into that pursuit.
The world changes, and you are changing right along with it. Don’t stick to things simply because they worked for you in the past. You may have to break out of your comfort zone, but it will be worthwhile to face the challenge.
Review your life and business responsibilities on a regular basis to ascertain what isn’t working for you anymore. Keep track of data and anecdotal evidence that could help you decide when you need to change direction. Circumstances won’t change overnight. Some of your actions slowly start to cost you more time and money. Spotting a downward trend early can help you cut your losses and regroup.
Things that consume their energy without yielding any benefit
You may take on a project with the understanding that you may have to put in some effort up front to get results later. It is important to avoid the trap of spinning your wheels and waiting for success.
Set time-bound goals and perform a cost-benefit analysis. Establish how long you are willing to put in that level of effort, and what your outcomes should be. If you don’t see a return on your investment within the time frame that you set, you might need to consider dropping that initiative.
When something takes up too much of your time, you end up working for free or operating at a loss. Something that takes too much of your energy can also prevent you from taking on initiatives that may prove more beneficial for you.
The communication company, Slack, is a classic example of this principle. Before the company was a go-to platform for business communication, it was a video game company. The CEO received 17 million dollars to invest in his project, but the video games didn’t do well.
The CEO had to make a tough choice: continue with the original objective and go into debt for millions of dollars or try something new and keep what could be salvaged. Slack’s success today would not have been possible if the company had not changed directions.
Giving up on something doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It just means that you are opening yourself up to the possibility of being successful in another endeavor.
Prioritize your schedule and eliminate things that are eating up your time and energy. In some cases, low-value tasks may give you very little benefit, but they could also be negative-value if they take you away from more important tasks.
People who don’t share the same goals and vision
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As the saying goes, you’re the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. You’ll want to make conscious choices about the people that you spend your time with because they can influence you. If they don’t share your vision, you will either end up in conflict with them, or they will take you off-track.
When you spend time with people who share your goals, you’ll have more opportunities for growth. Your peers will understand your mission, and you can use your collective brainpower and resources to strive for success. These people can offer you insights and motivate you.
When you make new friends or apply for a new job, you need to understand the person or entity’s core values. This means that you will have to do more than engage the people around you in small talk. Asking people where they like to go, talking about the weather, or inquiring about their weekend doesn’t tell you much about them.
Asking philosophical and ethical questions can give you insight into a person’s character. They don’t necessarily have to agree with you on all points in order to be a good match, but if someone responds in a manner that is completely against your core values, then they might not share your perspective about life.
Asking someone, “What is your favorite quote (or book) and why?” or “What would you do if you won the lottery tomorrow?” can tell you a lot about someone you’ve just met. If you are having a deeper discussion, asking, “Are you religious or spiritual?” or “How do you measure your success?” can prompt people to open up about what is important to them.
Making the decision to give up on something that isn’t working for you is part of becoming successful. Some of the best-intended moves can consume too much time and energy to be worthwhile. Strategies and that worked for you in the past may need to be adapted or abandoned when they stop being beneficial. People who you thought were your friends could have a negative impact on your work.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -Albert Einstein
When you clear away ideas and initiatives that no longer serve you, you make room for fresh ideas to take shape. Quitting is not necessarily a bad thing. Having a capacity to give up is one of the best-kept secrets among successful people.
|||^||Macworld: Steve Jobs’s Seven Key Decisions|
|||^||Mind Tools: Cost Benefit Analysis: Deciding, Quantitatively, Whether To Go Ahead|
|||^||Thought Catalog: 40 Deep Questions To Ask If You Really Want To Get To Know Someone|