Why quitting is for winners
I first posted on the art of quitting 7 years ago after reading an article in Flow Magazine which seemed to perfectly articulate at the time the recent process I had unknowingly undertaken, which despite the voiced reservations & concerns by family & friends had turned out remarkably well (something in hindsight I'm sure they would agree with also).
You see, it was two weeks before my 30th birthday and I was living my best life. I had just returned from two weeks travelling and practicing yoga in Costa Rica, was single and living with my best friend (who was also un-attached at the time - every weekend was dates, wine & fun), was in the best shape of my life and had an exciting weekend in Brighton planned with my closest pals to celebrate, well... being me for 30 years!
I was the happiest I had ever been.
Now, what if I told you in this same time frame I had experienced...
A painfully drawn-out breakdown of an 8 year relationship
Leaving a job I loved after being subject to bullying within the team
Homelessness (almost twice)
A huge friendship rift which is still unhealed all these years later
Being diagnosed with anxiety disorder & reluctantly medicated accordingly.
Getting to this point in my life had been ROUGH. Back then when I looked at my friends and how smooth, carefree and relatively simple their lives were it felt really unfair at times. I often wondered where I could have been in my life if I just had the same opportunities as them? If I had not had to endure the seemingly deeper, more troublesome obstacles on my path through life, how much more successful could I have been? Sometimes this escalated into a full-on pity party in my head, but like all parties they get to a point where they're not fun any more, at which point I'd pick myself back up, grab my yoga mat and re-align with where I was in my life.
So how did I get from this to my happiest self, and what has all this got to do with quitting? I'll summarise for you for ease.
I accepted where I was in life, warts & all, and went with the flow. I gave up trying to control situations where I had no power, people who I wanted so badly in my life but who could not meet me where I was, and the outcomes of the path I had chosen. It wasn't easy but in quitting trying to control everything and instead just go with the flow, I dropped all expectations in my life and the disappointment that so often accompanied them.
Lower your standards
Ex-self confessed perfectionist here! My high standards were nothing more than a protection mechanism, stopping me from connecting with others and accepting help, both of which I desperately needed. Once I quit judging other people, myself & opportunities by my high standards, I began to see the potential in others and find things that were aligned with who I wanted to be. The mould-ridden, ex-council private rental with a financially unstable flatmate actually became my home for 3+ years and housed some of my fondest memories (after the mould was gone... know when your standards are and are not serving you!).
Take the easy route
Life isn't supposed to be hard all the time and there's no special prizes in life for those who take the difficult path every time. We're brought up in the western world being told that the harder you work, the better you are and the greater the reward, but what does better mean to you and is it even the pay-off you want? If the reward you're after is a happy, content life free from struggle, then trust yourself to know when the risk is worth the reward and opt to take the easy route for anything else. Quit taking the difficult route just for the kudos.
Ignore others advice
Nobody knows or understands your situation like you, so as tempting as it may seem, quit the urge to seek reassurance from others about what you should and should not do - they don't have to live with the consequences. You do! When you're sharing your plans and goals with friends or family and they offer unsolicited opinions (it happens), it's ok to say "thanks for your opinion, I may think about that later" and leave it there. If you find this hard, find a coach or someone who is trained to discuss matter from a completely un-judgemental and detached place, and ask the right questions that will allow YOU to feel more confident in your decision.
Ultimately it was quitting the need to control, the judgement, the self-sabotage & distrust, and spending my time & energy on all the things that were not serving me fully that allowed me to find my flow, seek the people who could support me and discover the opportunities that would lead me to a life that I was truly happy living.
And if true happiness doesn't make you a winner, I don't know what does.
So ask yourself:
What is stopping me becoming my best self right now?
Who is bringing more pain than pleasure into my life?
How could my life be easier?
And quit that sh*t!