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Last Updated on March 13, 2018

One Question to Decide Whether Quitting Is Better Than Carrying On

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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    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?

      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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        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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          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.

          Reference

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

          Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Tips From The Most Successful People 50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn Feel better instead of feeling tired Feeling Tired All the Time? Find out Why and How to Get Energetic Again The Only Way to Remember Everything You Have Read

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          Published on July 13, 2018

          Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

          Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

          What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

          By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

          When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

          In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

          Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

          What is attachment theory?

          Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

          The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

          His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

          The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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          When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

          Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

          How attachment develops

          Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

          Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

          The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

          It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

          In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

          Different types of attachments

          In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

          • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
          • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
          • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
          • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

          What attachments mean to adults

          So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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          As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

          • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
          • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
          • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
          • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

          Here’s where it gets really interesting:

          Move towards secure attachment

          The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

          Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

          The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

          If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

          The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

          Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

          How to restructure your thoughts

          Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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          For the Avoidant Style

          As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

          Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

          Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

          Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

          Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

          If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

          Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

          And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

          For the Anxious Style

          For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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          First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

          Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

          For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

          The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

          Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

          When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

          For the Secure Style

          Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

          Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

          Strive towards Secure Attachment

          As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

          • Positive self esteem and self image
          • Close and well adjusted relationships
          • Sense of security in self and the world
          • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
          • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
          • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
          • Trust in self and others
          • Close, intimate relationships
          • Strong determination and problem solving skills

          If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

          It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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