Knowing when to quit (and when to press ahead)

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

If you know that you don’t have much time left to live in this world, will you do the things you do now differently?

The days of our life are seventy years—Or even, if because of strength, eighty years; Yet their pride [in additional years] is only labor and sorrow, for it is soon gone and we fly away.
Psalm 90:10 AMP

Go ahead. If you want to know the average life span of a person, search it online. You will find out the same figures from that verse in Psalms: 70 years, 80, while some get more additional years after that.

It’s no surprise that we are operating in a limited time resource. We all know the fact that at some point in our lives, we are going to die. However, not all of us consider it and take it to heart. That is why I encourage you to ask God for wisdom that He may teach you to number your days.

So teach us to number our days, that we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 AMP

When you recognize that you have limited time and opportunity to experiment with whatever it is you want to be good at, then you will learn how to narrow your choices. Why settle for mediocrity (to be commonplace, become generic, and be a commodity) when you can choose to be the best with what you do?

To become the best means: best in your chosen field (based on your knowledge and skills, not just passion), best in the environment you have access to (not the whole world; you cannot please everybody). And because you cannot compete with the infinite options in the environment you want to become a part of, you better be the best you can be.

How many things did you start but did not finish?

What I observed as common place is that a lot of people want to start new things because they are fun to begin with. Here’s a list of things a lot of people start (or start to learn) but never plan to finish it (or become the best in doing it):

  • photography
  • videography
  • vlogging
  • blogging
  • writing
  • graduate studies
  • micro-business

… and the list goes on.

How much time did you put in to start an endeavor only to stop because you realized that it’s not just all fun but that it requires hard work too?

Almost everything in life worth doing is controlled by the Dip.

from The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

What is the Dip?

The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery. A long slog that’s actually a shortcut, because it gets you where you want to go faster than any other path.

The Dip is the long stretch between beginner’s luck and real accomplishment.

The Dip is the set of artificial screens set up to keep people like you out.

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

From my experience, the master’s thesis was the Dip when I took graduate studies. Taking all the coursework was doing your part as a student: studying and passing the tests. But the master’s thesis was the deal breaker. If you choose to go through the labor (physical, mental, emotional) it requires, and if you choose to obsess to go through it despite the difficulty, then you will find yourself on the other end of the Dip.

Don’t just be good about anything, be best at something.

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere but stay busy.  Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.

But how to become the best?

For so many years you’ve been in school, you were taught to become the best in everything. But the irony is that, when you are finally looking for a job, the companies don’t want you to be just a jack of all trades. What they are actually looking for is someone with outstanding qualities, someone who can do things differently, someone who can do things that others don’t.

So becoming the best doesn’t mean to be the best in everything. Have you heard anyone successful who are best in everything? Surely, they are best at something, that’s why they stood out.

You must know what to quit and when to quit so that you can focus on the things that truly matter. Once you can focus in becoming better with what you want to excel in, then you are on your way to become the best in doing it.

Is what you’re doing worth doing?

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
It’s easier to be mediocre than it is to confront reality and quit

Remember I told you how finite our time resource is? If you keep on doing something and settle to be mediocre, then you are wasting your life. If you are just starting a vlog in YouTube just because it is fun but then learn later that it takes time and effort to produce valuable content, you might be tempted to settle for mediocrity and end up begging for views and likes. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start. If you can embrace that simple rule, you’ll be a lot choosier about which journeys you start.

Do you want to be the best or do you want to settle for mediocrity?

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.

So if you don’t have plans to be the best in what you’re doing. You better quit. Not only will you save your time, you will also be able to appropriate the time to things that matter more to you; things that add value in your life.

What to quit?

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other.

If what you’re doing now does not contribute to the direction you want your life to go to, you better quit it.

When to quit?

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
If you are making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.

Do not quit because your emotions tell you to stop. It’s a natural response to stop when it starts hurting. Remember that exercise you keep on holding off? You must choose the long-term benefits of not quitting instead of focusing on the short-term pain.

But if you are in a dead-end job where you keep working and working then nothing much changes, then you better quit. You are wasting your time. Remember that you are not getting any younger. When you quit, you can now rededicate your time and focus into doing what is useful and promising for you and your career.

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
The opportunity cost of investing your life in something that’s not going to get better is just too high.
Every day you stay is a bad strategic decision for your career because every day you get better at something that isn’t that useful—and you are another day behind others who are learning something more useful.

If you are to quit, quit strategically.

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
Strategic quitting is a conscious decision you make based on the choices that are available to you. If you realize you’re at a dead end compared with what you could be investing in, quitting is not only a reasonable choice, it’s a smart one.

When to press ahead?

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.

If what you are doing now shows a great long-term potential, then don’t quit.

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
Successful people don’t just ride out the Dip. They don’t just buckle down and survive it. No, they lean into the Dip. They push harder, changing the rules as they go. Just because you know you’re in the Dip doesn’t mean you have to live happily with it. Dips don’t last quite as long when you whittle at them.

As emphasized earlier, anything worth doing has the Dip. So if you are in the Dip and you believe that what you’re doing is worth pursuing, then you must press ahead.

Via The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
Persistent people are able to visualize the idea of light at the end of the tunnel when others can’t see it.

Spend your time wisely.

By now, you already learned the value of your time: you are here now and gone tomorrow. Make sure that you make the most of your years in this lifetime. Quit the bad stuff, the unproductive activities, the dead-end jobs, and focus on doing the things that are useful to the betterment of your life and chosen career path.

When I was young, a family friend told me “Why settle for good when you can do best?” Those words changed me forever.

Choose to do your best in everything.

Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve.
Colossians 3:23-24 AMP

Remember that God called you to excellence.

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9 AMP

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