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Why I Quit Often and Why You Should Know When To Do It

Published on September 25, 2016 12:00 AM EST

My first business was a clothing line and one of my favorite shirts was a V-neck that said: “Never Lose Hope.”

I would have weeks on Twitter where the theme of the week was not giving up. I wrote a book called “Endure”, which is all about finding the strength to hold on when you want to let go.

I branded myself as someone who inspires others not to give up on what they want.

The reality is though, it is partially a lie.

One I fell into because of my ignorance. Telling someone NEVER to give up can be awful advice in some situations. We need to encourage people to quit more often than we think. Holding on only makes sense when it is the right project, business or pursuit.

When I read “The Dip” by Seth Godin, it helped me to realize a lot of what I had been feeling inside. It helped me to let go of some deep pains I have had because I just did not want to be a quitter.

After going to the Olympics, I retired from track and field at what most consider to be a young age.

I quit on girlfriends.

 I quit on my clothing line.

 I quit my job that I hated with all my life.

I started a custom-made tie company with my wife – and it could have been a great company – but I quit.

Society would say, “wow Ian, you have given up on a lot of things. You need to learn to hold on.

But they are 100 percent wrong AND right at the same damn time.

 I Quit What Was Wrong

There is a reason why you see people in horrible relationships (wherein everyone knows will never make it) that go on together for years on end. The stubbornness sets in. We want to prove to the world that we are the exception, to overcome the odds.

We want to prove once and for all that we can hold on when the rest of the world would let go.

Holding on in relationships applies to all areas of our life. Quitting is embarrassing, and it makes us feel like failures. So we figure, stick with what we know instead of a devil we don’t know, right? After quitting we have to read success articles like this.

When I think back on the companies I started in the past, I would NOT change a thing, because I learned some valuable lessons from each of them.

Getting a $150,000 investment at age 20 taught me about the power of teamwork and leadership. We failed and had to quit because we burnt all the money before we made a dollar.

My clothing line taught me about supply chain management, customer appreciation, and the fact that you can’t ask people if they like something. You have to ask if they would pay for it.

I quit because I don’t even like clothing and fashion. I just started it because I thought it would be cool.

With my blog, I learned how to write my ass off. I also learned about video editing, content marketing, branding, social media marketing, and it became my baby. The issue was that we never started it to make money. So when we tried to attach business models to it, they just did not work.

With my tie company, I learned how to become OBSESSED with the product. I constantly wanted to know what people thought and saw how we could make it better.

I quit track because I did NOT believe I could be the best. When I started running as a young boy, I thought I could be an Olympic champion one day. When that feeling left me, I knew that it was time to walk away.

Finding the Power to Quit

You only have so much time in your day to accomplish things. How can we ever find success when we do not know how to say no?

The word YES has gotten us into some trouble.

The more you quit and the more you say no, the better your ability to focus on what matters!

The issue with our world right now is that, we have so many people that are distracted. We want to do everything that we think we are even partially good at – and it’s killing us.

I learned in Seth Godin’s book how the money goes to the best. You see, this in all areas and industries. The very best of the best make a lot of money, and the average makes nothing.

The same is to be true if we want to work at a job, play a sport, run a business, take up photography, and so on. We have to either strive to be great, or we will end up being average. And average is never rewarded.

Hold on to What You Can Be the Best At

When it comes to being a quitter, excel at that before you strive to be great.

Start saying no to almost everything. Focus on the things that are going to make the biggest impact. Work on the projects that you can be the best at doing.

Everyday that you spend working on something that you are NOT going to be the best at, means time and resources taken away from something that you can be. What is even better than having to quit, is learning NOT to start the wrong things.

When you find the thing that you can be the best at then, you apply the old concepts.

Never give up.

Never lose hope.

When you want to let go, remember why you held on in the first place.

All those great lines begin to make sense. Then it is your job to get through “The Dip”.  Everything starts off wonderful and new, believe me! You love it at first, and it seems like it is going to become your world for a long time.

Then it all changes. At this point, your mental strength is tested.

Things start to get tough, and you question everything up until that point. You feel like you wasted your time and money. You believe it is bound to be a failure. This feeling is a defining moment in our lives.

The problem is that, we hold on to the wrong things, and we let go of the right things.

When we finally choose the right thing to pursue, it is easier to find a reason to hold on because it is something you can be the best at.

READ MORE:  Forgive and Forget: 5 Things You Need To Forgive Yourself For
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