Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Can "Quitting" Be Courageous?

I saw via Twitter that the keynote speaker at the Generation WV conference last night used the phrase, “You’re not a failure until you quit.” It definitely brought up the concept of courage for me, but in unexpectedly conflicting ways.

Some of the most courageous things I’ve done involved deciding to stop doing something. And I don’t mean bad habits, like smoking or biting my nails. I mean sometimes there are things you have worked on over and over again, and when you look down the continuum of the continued effort, you really have to self-evaluate.

Is it possible that “quitting” can be courageous?

I use quotation marks because this term really bothers me. It reminds me of those beefy football coaches on the sidelines, screaming at exhausted players, “Winners never quit! And quitters never win!” It can be a form of manipulation, a way of suggesting that that only losers (whatever that means) ever stop trying.

Perhaps that is where the key lies. In the effort, in the trying. I agree that sometimes the effort is the main thing, and it is beautiful and wonderful and important. But let’s be honest, sometimes all the effort in the world towards the wrong objective is a lost cause. It’s then that “quitting” may be courageous, despite all the pressure and all the names you get called. And in this vein, I can clearly see why some people want to make other feels bad about quitting; it may mean you have to acknowledge the objective was never that good. Then it’s about more than the one who stops trying, and the coaches have to be accountable.

Just a Friday afternoon thought for you to chew on, and maybe comment on if I’m lucky! Happy weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes quitting can be like learning to say no.
-Jen M