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To Quit Or

Not To Quit

Ella Crosby

The word “quitter” is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a person who

gives up easily or does not have the courage or determination to finish a task”.

Last year, I quit a sport I had taken up because it wasn’t right for me.

The strange thing was, every time I told anyone I had given it up, I

felt like I had to make excuses. I would talk about my desire to focus

on school or an excess of other commitments; it wasn’t enough for

me to tell the truth and say, “I had a go, and it didn’t make me happy,

so I didn’t keep doing it”.

After this experience, I started to wonder about this vendetta

our society has against quitting. Why do we think of ceasing to do

something as an inherently negative thing?

Some psychologists have suggested that our fear of quitting

dates back to the very origins of the human race; prehistorically,

quitting was a truly terrible survival tactic. The cavemen who

decided that hunting wasn’t for them and that they would really

rather paint didn’t tend to have a very long lifespan. Hence,

humanity evolved from exceptionally stubborn caveman, and the

same mentality of “try, try again” that applied to hunting 40,000

years ago is still being applied to pretty much every aspect of our

lives today, though it remains a fallible ideology. Just as some



might have been better off switching from mammoths to

rabbits if circumstances called for it, so too might us modern-day

humans be better switching to more achievable goals, even if that

means ceasing the pursuit of something else.

Here’s the thing: not everything you will ever begin is something

you are destined to finish or succeed at. Perseverance is key, but it is

not everything. Quitting something doesn’t automatically mean

you’re scared of commitment, lazy or a coward. In fact, deciding to

quit something is often exponentially harder, wiser and braver than

pursing it. Besides, giving yourself the freedom to quit means you’ll

enjoy the things you do keep doing more because you know you’re

doing them because you want to.

I am by no means encouraging you to quit every activity you have

ever had a moment’s doubt about pursuing; what I am doing is

encouraging you to consider


you are still doing all the things

you do. There comes a point when you need to ask yourself whether

you are persisting for the right reasons: Are you doing it because

you want to, or because you don’t want to disappoint someone else?