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When to Quit | Scott H Young

Experiential Based Thinking

Instead of judging whether or not you should quit pursuing your dream based on your chances of success you ask a different question. Would I like to experience building a business from the ground up?

In this perspective goals merely guide your travels through interesting waters. By taking up this mindset the question of whether you will fulfill your dream becomes irrelevant.

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When to Quit | Scott H Young

When to Quit | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2006/10/15/when-to-quit/

scotthyoung.com

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Key Ideas

Reality Check

All efforts towards correctly pursuing your own personal development must take into account reality, not how you think the world should work. The truth is reality isn’t fair and just trying your best towards your dream doesn’t always cut it.

Success Bias

Almost no popular self-help authors are going to have had the experience of pursuing a dream (like becoming an author) and not having it eventually work out. 

Understanding reality means that you have to accept that some of your dreams won’t come true just because you work hard enough, be creative enough or go to enough seminars. Don’t base your decisions on a false model of reality.

Outcome Based Thinking

When pursuing a dream you have the underlying assumption that when you reach it you will be happy. That is false. 

Achieving goals doesn’t make you happy because achievements on their own hold no lasting emotional value. Only growth, fulfilment and passion has value.

Experiential Based Thinking

Instead of judging whether or not you should quit pursuing your dream based on your chances of success you ask a different question. Would I like to experience building a business from the ground up?

In this perspective goals merely guide your travels through interesting waters. By taking up this mindset the question of whether you will fulfill your dream becomes irrelevant.

When to Quit

Quit when you have an alternative path that will give you more growth, passion and fulfillment. 

If a new experience will be better, then switch to that. There is no shame in leaving a path that has become barren.

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The Commitment Muscle

Sticking through things longer builds resilience. But sticking through on a bad idea, project or effort can lose you years of your life.

The goal is to increase your ability to susta...

Quitting Points

They are pre-specified periods of time, effort or stress that you decide you’re willing to endure before you step back and re-evaluate.

Pick Your Quitting Point
  • Set shorter lengths of projects: set projects that are short enough that committing to them all the way is easy enough to do or break into chunks th bigger ones.
  • Set re-evaluation points for ongoing habits and goals.
  • Based on impact to other areas of your life. You can choose metrics like: time and how those things impact your life.

"When you quit with intention, you free up more time, money and energy for the things that really matter to your l..."

Thomas Oppong
Quitting is underrated

Successful people quit (or proactively adjust) a lot more often than people who aren’t successful. They stay flexible and open to new ideas or opportunities or ways of getting things done.

But never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress at the moment

“Instead of continually trying to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, let them go. Without the emotional weight and mental clutter of keeping things on your agenda that don’t absolutely need to be there, you’re much freer to rapidly move forward on what you really do want and need to get done.”

“Instead of continually trying to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, let them go. Without the emotional weight and mental clutter of keeping things on your agenda that don’t absolutely need to be there, you’re much freer to rapidly move forward on what you really do want and need to get done.”

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Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

“You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do i..."

Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness
The Pursuit Of Happyness

In the movie, Chris Gardner is a single father, struggling in poverty. Unable to sell the products he invested his life savings into, he finds himself struggling to pay rent. Within one year, he manages to become a stockbroker at a top firm and goes on to run his own multimillion dollar firm.

People gravitated to this story because it's the ultimate success story: the story of the underdog. It's about perseverance, determination and hard work.

"The Cavalry Ain't Coming, You Got To Do This Yourself"

While trying to sell one of his bone scanners downtown, he meets Jay Twistle, a manager for Dean Witter, whom he impresses after solving a Rubix cube puzzle in a taxi ride. After securing an interview with Dean Witter to become an intern stockbroker, he is arrested for unpaid parking tickets. When he’s let go, he’s out of time to change clothes and has to suck up his pride and go to the interview in sweatpants and a wife beater. He presents his reasons for candidacy with such strength, determination and passion that his employers were forced to look beyond his appearance.

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Why Set Personal Goals
  • You are in charge. Personal goals force you to take responsibility for the actual efforts and progress.
  • You see the small steps leading to a big picture: big goals c...
“Which? Why? What? How?” Technique

... for choosing personal goals. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Ask yourself which aspect of your life you would like to change most.
  2. Think about why you want to change this.
  3. How will that change make you feel? Determine what exactly will make you feel this way.
  4. Ask yourself how you can make this happen and then make it your personal goal.
The Life Balance Chart Technique
  • Draw a chart. Write down each of the various areas of your life (family, health, self-development, career, relationships) in a new column or line.
  • Assess your current happiness level in each of these categories by giving it a score from 1 to 10.
  • Think what will make you be fully satisfied with these areas. Write down your ideas – you will be able to transform them into personal plans.

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Why you are afraid of quitting

The sunk cost fallacy is one of the primary reasons you are so afraid to quit anything. It occurs when you tell yourself that you can’t quit because of all the time or money you have ...

Overcome the fear of quitting

Sunk cost is about the past. Opportunity cost is about the future.

If you are scared to quit (which is absolutely natural), always think of the opportunity cost. Think of the brighter future, not the scary past, and often times that is enough to give you that extra push to make the right decision.

Long-term cost outweighs short-term benefits

When you finally succeed, but you don’t have the health or someone to share the success with, the project might prove not be be worth it. 

Take 5 minutes at the end of the week and reflect on what you have achieved versus what you had to give up to achieve it so you don’t end up giving up too much without even realizing it.  Make this a habit

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Taking action = eventual success
Taking action = eventual success

Inaction is the biggest cause of our failures and our miseries. If we could consistently do the things we know we should do, we would be more successful, and our lives would be better. Yet w...

Explaining inaction

Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:

  • Talent. But the world is full of brilliant stars that flame out and mediocre minds that build empires.
  • Preferences can explain our failure to try, but don't explain our inner struggles with inaction.
  • Capacity for effort. If your capacity for doing things is lower, it does not explain chronic bursts of activity with inevitable crashes in your goals and projects.
  • Motivation. Some people with the most reason have the hardest time taking action. 
Confidence
Motivation and expectation of success create a feedback loop:
  • Your motivation to complete a task depends on the value of the reward and your expectation of success. 
  • Your expectation of success depends on your motivation.

If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.

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Long-term flexible commitment

What many people fail at with long-term commitments is that they make their initial vision too rigid.

Flexible commitment can help overcome this by bringing together two pr...

Walk the Winding Path
  1. Stick to short commitments. Get good at this skill before going further.
  2. Understand your goal at different levels. The highest goal should be fairly abstract.
  3. Set a much more specific agenda of how I could fulfill this.
  4. Have periodic reviews where you can change your direction and incorporate new ideas. 
  5. Don't let your reviews interfere with the short-term process of committing.
The winding path: Goals and projects
Imagine your ambitions on two levels:
  1. A goal level, which is big-picture and abstract. It has just enough detail to inspire, but not so much that you're stuck pursuing things that don’t matter when conditions change. 
  2. Underneath that, have projects: these tend to be short-to-medium term efforts you think will help realize the larger goal.

The flexibility of the system comes once one leg of a short-term commitment has ended. This provides an opportunity for pivoting and redirecting.

Wanting everything at once

Most people want to change themselves completely. The problem is wanting to do everything at once.

Because this intense motivational boost can backfire — you shift from over-enthusiasm...

Success

It is a byproduct of self-discipline — it requires a method, not just a positive attitude.

Rather than worrying about the end result, focus on how to make daily progress.

Self-control is limited
Self-control is critical to developing new habits and overcome resistance.

But by pushing ourselves too hard, we exhaust the mental muscles needed to stay focused, to avoid temptations, and to persist in the face of frustration or failure. 

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Desire

We always work the hardest for the things we are most passionate about.

Choose your destiny and invest yourself in those fields that most interest you. 

Don't become an expert at the familiar

This type of comfort breeds something lazy in us and we only do what is expected of us, but do not go beyond. 

Crave what is new and unexplored, and fearlessly pursue those areas. 

Choose to excel

Effort counts twice as much as genius or talent.

Commit to being a person who wants to be more, do more, and consistently test the limits of your capacity. Embrace the responsibility and enjoy the freedom that comes with it.

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The faulty logic

We usually consider moving into marriage in an attempt to preserve and prolong the happy romantic feelings that characterize the early stages of almost all relationships.
But in most cases, ther...

Unrealistic expectations

The gap between expectation and reality is the cause for many of life’s disappointments.
We like to create detailed fantasies of how our lives are going to be. But when we expect our reality to match a fantasy but life turns out nothing like it, we feel disappointed.

Asking the right questions

"Are you the right person for me?" is the wrong question to ask, because nothing outside of ourselves can fix us or bring us happiness.
A more constructive question to ask would be "Can I accommodate your imperfections with humor and grace?"