The Upside to Quitting

“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”
Will Rogers

“You need to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em…”
The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

“No problem is so formidable that you can’t walk away from it.”
Charles Schulz (Peanuts)

A while back, I made the decision to quit an executive-level role that I felt was not the right fit for me (or for the company I was working for), and as luck would have it, it was also the day while driving into work that Overcast replayed the Freakonomics podcast, “The Upside of Quitting”. Whether due to serendipity or confirmation bias, I do sometimes feel that life is not as random as physics would suggest.

As a practicing Stoic, making (or attempting to make) rational decisions is how I strive to live my daily life, and this episode and event highlighted a few truisms that align perfectly to that (and to my own experience):

  • Live my own life, not someone else’s vision of what I should be or do
  • Passion for a pursuit does not guarantee my success
  • Fail fast (the hardest lesson for me as it contradicts my inherent bias to both not recognize when something is not working and to not give up)
  • Life exists in the now – whatever has been invested in a losing proposition is done and gone. As Stevie Nicks sang, ‘Pick up the pieces and go home’ (or move on I would say)
  • My most precious commodity is time – at every moment I need to examine what I am doing and ask myself, am I making the best use (as aligned with my concept of a virtuous life) of what time I have left?
  • Striving for constant happiness in my job, relationships and life is a recipe for unhappiness – I have to take the good with the bad (or the desirable with the undesirable) in order to make progress in life.

Food for thought…

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