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One Question to Decide Whether Quitting Is Better Than Carrying On

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One Question to Decide Whether Quitting Is Better Than Carrying On

Quitting at something almost universally seen as a negative. Certainly, there are times when quitting can be a good, like giving up smoking for example. But generally speaking, quitting something is seen as a loss. Even if it is something we don’t find rewarding, or something we don’t enjoy, quitting something always feels like a personal setback. But sometimes, quitting something can be the first step towards the road to success.

In 2016 Neil Sheth quit his job. For ten years he was a successful investment banker in Goldman Sachs in London, but he wanted more. So he launched a business on the side, focusing on digital marketing. But he found he was unable to focus as much time as he liked on it, so he took the plunge. He quit his job.
Within a few months, he had not only secured some free time (no more morning commute!) but started earning a considerable income.[1]

He isn’t the only person to quit as a way of achieving success, take for example Sarah Grove who quit her job as a kiteboarder to start a successful online health food magazine, or Catherine Wood who quit her job as an economist for the federal government to become a life coach, and in 2004, Mark Zuckerberg left his studies at Harvard to focus on a little website he and some friends were working on, a site called Facebook.[2] All these people are quitters, and all these people are happier, and more successful because of it.

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One Question to Decide Whether Quitting Is Better Than Carrying On

    The question to ask yourself

    Of course, quitting isn’t for everyone, and at times it can be hard to know if quitting something is even the right decision. To help determine whether quitting something will be beneficial, it is important to ask yourself this very crucial question:

    Is what I’m doing helping me get to what I want most?”

    Only you can know the answer to this question.

    Time, ultimately, is finite. So, if you have something you strive towards, or something you dream of doing or having, there is a risk that your normal 9-5 job isn’t helping you but actually hindering your progress and taking up important time.

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    That said, quitting does not need to be as drastic as it sounds, you could consider it to merely be you changing your direction. Indeed some successful people (like Richard Branson) stress the importance of building bridges, instead of burning them, staying in touch with the people you worked with instead of moving on from them.[3]

    The significance of the question

    Life, and the world is full of distractions. Unless you’re not fully focused on your goal, it can be easy to lose track of it, or run out of time to meet your goals in life. Have you ever had to cancel something you were looking forward to because work got in the way? Or put aside time to do something, only to discover that you filled that time doing other, less important things?

    One Question to Decide Whether Quitting Is Better Than Carrying On

      You might have even dropped something you were enjoying because you had already put a lot of time into something you weren’t enjoying, but didn’t want to see that time wasted. This is an example of sunk cost bias, the mistaken belief that something is worth sticking with just because you invested a lot of time into it, even if you didn’t like it, or enjoy doing it.[4] It is the cause of many bad relationships, hurt feelings, bad books read, and years of wasted time.

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      One Question to Decide Whether Quitting Is Better Than Carrying On

        If you’re stuck in a job you don’t like, quitting can seem a terrible prospect just because you’ve spent a lot of time there. Really, you should see that as time spent not working against your goal. The sunk cost bias then is costly. The best weapon against it is the question.

        The benefits of the question

        The above question allows you to take a step back and fully assess what you’re doing. In asking this question you’re also asking yourself:

        • “Why am I doing this?”
        • “Is this adding value to my life?”

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        One Question to Decide Whether Quitting Is Better Than Carrying On

          It makes you ask yourself what your goal is, and whether what you’re doing is working towards that goal. If the answer to those questions is yes, then fantastic! You’re doing great!

          If the answer is no, then maybe you should ask yourself is what you’re doing worth doing if you want to achieve your goal.

          There is a much debated theory that suggests it takes 10,000 hours to truly master something.[5] If this is true (some say it takes less), if your goal is, for example, to learn a new language or instrument, then you could be losing a great deal of that time doing something that doesn’t contribute to it at all.

          The question reminds you of your true purpose, whatever it may be, it brings it back in focus, and once it is, you’ll be able to better understand how to reach it. To strive for it, and if necessary, quit or drop some unnecessary things to achieve it.

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          Reference

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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