Quit Already! 5 Proven Scenarios When You Need To Move On

Quit or be exceptional, average is for losers.

~ Seth Godin


It sounds so bad, so wrong, yet there are occasions when it is the best option. And not because things are so grim and doomed or you have no other choice, but because quitting would make your happier, more productive and more successful.

It sounds controversial, but here are 5 separate scenarios when quitting makes perfect sense:

Let’s dig into 5 different scenarios when quitting is actually a good idea:

time to quit

1. When The Long-Term Cost Outweighs The Benefit

Let’s say that you are working super hard on a project. You are giving it your all, your blood, sweat and tears, but in the meantime you are neglecting your family, giving up time with your friends and maybe even time with yourself and your health.

If the project lasts for a week, or even a month, not such bad trade-off. But what about a year or 10? What if it takes you that long to get to that huge payout? Is it worth it? Is is worth achieving success when you have noone to share it with or when you are going to be so wiped out and exhausted at the end that you cannot even enjoy the fruits of your labor?

When the cost outweighs the benefit in the long run, it is a good idea to cut your losses, quit and move on. Your life will be better off because of it.

Do A Weekly Review

Unfortunately, sometimes you can get caught up and not even take the time to weigh in if the cost is greater than the benefit. That is what you should make it part of your weekly routine.

At the end of each week, take 5 – 10 minutes and review what you have achiever. Now, think of the opportunity cost, think of what you had to give up in order to achieve what you did. Was it worth it? If the answer is “yes”, keep on going. If the you find that the answer is “no” week after week, it is time to do a more serious evaluation.

2. When There Is No Future

It’s a good idea to quit when there is no future.

Entrepreneurs are especially guilty of this one. A spark of genius comes, you have an awesome idea, you’re going to revolutionize the world… overnight! You have the best thing since sliced bread, the new Facebook. And blinded by determination (and possibly too many RedBulls), you start working hard, but you never take the time to actually validate the idea. You never sit down and think if there is a real future, if there’s a market for it. You work and you work and then you work some more and fail to take the time to see if it truly has a potential.

Or maybe you are climbing the corporate ladder, but you’ve reached an impasse. Your managers pass you over for a promotion, or you’ve simply outgrown the potential of the company. Either way, there is no future for you in your current circumstances.

It helps to take a step back, get the 30,000 foot view of your project, or life, and re-evaluate everything.

Maybe you cannot see the forest for the trees, but maybe there is no forest at all.

It might be helpful to also talk to someone outside of your usual social circle. Someone who can give you an honest opinion about how realistic you are being about the future.

If you come to the painful conclusion that if you keep on going in the same direction, the future is not as bright as you hoped it would be, quitting and moving on is a great way to go.

3. When Your Priorities Have Changed

Every day something changes.

The world never stops turning and what was the best thing one day might not be the best thing the next. When you are in your 20s working 90-100 hour weeks might be a great goal, but when you turn 30 and you have 2 kids, it’s perfectly fine for your priorities to shift.

Maybe something better, or just different, or more fun, comes along and pushes what you are currently doing lower on the priorities list. This is not to suggest you should be jumping from opportunity to opportunity, like a bee pollinating flower after flower, but that it is perfectly OK to quit something, so you can replace it with a better, or more promising, alternative.

Things change and you should change with them. Follow your instincts. You know what’s best for you so don’t let the circumstances dictate your life.

Whenever you find that your priorities have changed, it’s OK to give up something for something better.

4. When There Is No Fun (Any More)

Some things are hard and they have their highs and lows, but they are at least fun. Either the process is enjoyable, or you feel accomplished when you are finally done, or you have reached a milestone. Seth Godin calls these situations “dips” –  something really difficult, but with the opportunity to be the best in the world.

On the flip side, there are situations or projects that you dread starting, you hate the process, and when you are finally done, you wish you never did it. Seth Godin calls these “cul-de-sacs” – situation that has no promise to get better, or in this case, more enjoyable.

In the grand scheme of life, you should only be doing things that bring you at least a little bit of pleasure. Either from the process or from the end result. If there is no benefit of doing it and you hate everything about it, doing more of it won’t help. 5 times 0 is still 0.

5. When Extra Effort Does Not Provide Extra Results

Tim Ferris calls it the “minimum effective dose”. Science calls it the “law of diminishing returns”. It all comes down to the same basic principle: once you have reached a certain point in a project, in life, or in any activity for that matter, doing more does not necessarily bring your better results. If you want to boil some water, you need to heat it up to exactly 100° C. Anything past that won’t make the water “more boiled”, it is just a waste of time, heat and energy.

If you reading a book or an article looking for an answer to a specific question, you can quit after you have found it. You don’t have to finish reading the whole piece just because you started it. Your question cannot be “more answered”. Extra effort does not always equal better results.

Your Turn Now

There you have it, 5 scenarios when quitting is the best option.

quit and move on

If the cost is greater than the benefit on a consistent basis, quit. If you realize that the future is bleak, quit. If you priorities have experienced a dramatic shift (absolutely normal and even expected), quit. If there is no fun, no enjoyment, in what you are doing, quit. If you got what you needed and there is no point in sticking with the current circumstances because of the lack of an extra benefit, quit.

Your time is limited. Your resources are limited. You cannot afford to waste them on projects and tasks that are not of the highest value to your life. “Winners never quit and quitters never win” is an awful strategy that only feeds your fear of quitting and paralyzing you at the idea of moving in to bigger and better things.

In the words of the great Seth Godin: “quit or be exceptional, average is for losers”

Question: what are some other situations where it is appropriate to cur your looses and quit? Share in the comment section below: