“You’ve never quit anything before.”
Those are the words my brother-in-law Timothy said to me that stopped me in my tracks while hiking the Boulder Flatirons.
He said it as a complimentary claim about me and added a question mark at the end to confirm he was right in his assessment.
It’s not entirely true, but his observation in spirit is true.
I hate quitting. I simply refuse. I can’t really explain when this began or what event seared that refusal deep within me.
I don’t have a story of a hard-driving father living vicariously through me. Nor can I locate an internal file or experience that explains this fire in me.
I just don’t like to quit.
My throw-in-the-towel list
- I can’t stand this list I’m about to share with you. Even writing them makes my quitters ulcer flare up.
- I quit my first marathon at mile twenty-four after vomiting for seven miles. I decided to eat Advil and spaghetti for breakfast, but not replenish during the Marathon.
- In High School I quit a landscaping job after two days of working in the heat and humidity of a Midwest summer. I wasn’t ready to toughen up.
- I’ve been on Mt. Rainier twice attempting to climb her crevassed glaciers. One time we struck out on weather and another time we got wore down and lacked the grit and experience required.
- I’m sure there are many more things I’ve given up. Yet, I’m pretty sure I’d remember them since they bother me so much.
Before you quit you should
think about a couple of things
The pain or discomfort you feel right now will be over much quicker than you think.
I just raced IRONMAN 70.3 Silverman Triathlon in Las Vegas. Two weeks prior, I was among 2800 other triathletes disappointed by the cancellation of IRONMAN Lake Tahoe. Before Silverman I trained in the foothills and mountains of cool-weathered Colorado; I didn’t condition myself for the heat of the desert. Three-and-a-half hours later, the run began and the sun was in full sizzle, fry an egg on the sidewalk mode. As I ran, or maybe more accurately called shuffling your feet at ten-minute miles, I thought about this a lot. I was watching people walk off the course and give up. All I could think about was, “Bro, the pain is going to be over soon, but you’re going to remember quitting for a long time”. As soon as I stopped running, the pain stopped. The irony was that I finished 68th in my age group of over 400 and 371st out of 1655, being one of my best ever finishes. My race time was terrible, but so was everyone else’s.
The regret of quitting lasts a lot longer than you think.
The problem with quitting is that we evaluate our choices while we are under the tension, stress, or pain of the situation, relationship, job, activity, business, etc. It is so easy to give up when we are under stress. Just remember that as soon as you quit, you can’t take it back, you can’t get a do-over, or say you didn’t really mean to quit.
Don’t allow yourself to have “Any Quit” in you.
My friend Neal recently told me a story about an triathlete he knows who permitted himself the idea of quitting before he even started a big race. Neal said You have to have No Quit in you. I totally agree. My wife and I refuse to use the word Divorce in our home. It’s simply not allowed in our household vocabulary. Why? If we permit the word to cycle through our conversations and arguments, then we are giving heed to the idea of quitting.
If you’ve permitted quitting in the past, then reboot your systems and start over. Draw a line in the sand and don’t allow that guy (or gal) to have any space in your future. It would be better to be the guy who draws a line than the guy who just keeps on quitting.
What have you quit before that you wish you hadn’t?