Quitting Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak, It Means You’re Smart.
Posted Aug 02 2014 10:07pm
A quitter never wins and a winner never quits. Pain is temporary but quitting is forever. No pain, no gain.
Our language is rife with axioms about quitting, or rather about NOT quitting. Never ever for any reason should you give up, give in, throw in the towel, walk off the field or just plain give up.
A quitter is seen as someone who is weak willed, lacking character and just plain lazy.
But maybe we’re approaching this all wrong. Think about it…if you never quit one thing, you’d have no space to take on something new.
I’m sure if you think back on your life, you’ll find numerous instances where you folded rather than staying in the game. It’s true for everyone, but it isn’t always the easiest choice to make, especially when it seems like success is just around the corner.
Five years ago, I was competing hardcore in kettlebell sport. I traveled the country, from Miami to San Diego and lots of no so glamorous places in between. I even went to Germany and Spain to compete and assist at a certification course. My rank was amongst the top three or so female competitors in the United States (it should be noted that the sport was in its infancy and I bow to those women competing today who could have kicked my butt even when I was at the top of my game).
All in all, my future in the sport was bright. I received high praise from top level coaches for my technique and my grit. Kettlebell sport is grueling to say the least, involving two ten-minute sets of continuous lifting without being able to put the weight down. The competitions taxed my strength and endurance, and of course my mental fortitude.
And, one day, I was done.
I just stopped training. My body was tired, my brain was bored and I just wasn’t interested anymore. I told myself that I was just overtrained and needed a break (which was true), that I would get back to competing soon (turned out not to be true) and I agonized over what others in the sport would think about me for quitting.
Because quitting is for, well, quitters. And I am not a quitter.
Except that I was. I never did get back to kettlebell sport. I still love the kettlebell as a fitness tool, but competing lost its allure. Workouts became something to dread instead of a fun challenge. I came to loathe the sweaty-rubbery smell of the inside of gyms. I found myself engaging in avoidance behavior – watching too much TV and eating way too much sugar.
After getting burnt out on the sport, I spent a lot of time trying different things, not because I wanted the latest and greatest method to get shredded but because I wanted to play. To have fun. To look forward to moving my body again.
I took dance classes for a couple of years. I tried yoga. I bought a bicycle, sold my car and commuted on two wheels for a summer.
And ultimately, I realized that for all the time, money and energy I was putting into kettlebell sport, I would rather invest those resources in something I really loved – horses. Riding, as much work as it is, never feels like a chore. Twelve and sixteen hour days at shows, staying up until midnight to ride in the arena because that’s when it’s free, driving an hour or more each way to get to the barn, spending weekends in dusty towns with little to offer in the way of culture or entertainment, none of these is ever a burden.
Quitting isn’t so much about giving up as it is about honing in on your true passions. It’s about knowing yourself so well that you don’t buy into someone else’s stories or ideas about what’s good, right or altruistic. It’s about choosing from your core, from what your heart screams and yearns for in the depths of your soul and not from what looks good on paper.
You can’t find new love if you stay in a hateful marriage. You can’t find meaningful work if you keep your mind-numbing desk job just to pay the bills. You can’t figure out what you really love to do until you try a few things first.
Quitting is not the same as giving up. Everything in life is hard. Having a day job is hard, and building a business out of your passion is hard. Life takes work. Elbow grease. Blood, sweat and a whole lotta tears.