When is it time to quit?

Debunking the myth of "Winners never quit!"

“Quitters never win and winners never quit!”  (Vince Lombardi)

“… never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in … “ (Winston Churchill)

“Never give up! Never surrender!” (Galaxy Quest)

I could speculate that more people are familiar with Tim Allen’s character in Galaxy Quest than with Lombardi or Churchill, but that is a whole different speech.

The point is that endurance, effort, determination, stick-to-it-ive-ness — TRY HARDER — is the secret to greatness and significance.

Try harder!  Give 110%!

May I offer another quote?  Thanks for your permission.

“When the horse is dead, dismount.” (Various)

You see, my friends, the real secret to greatness is not determined effort; it is wise and focused effort.  It is not giving 110% to every task; it is giving precisely the right effort to the right task at the right time.  It is not simply doing things right; it is doing the right things.

And sometimes the very best thing to do is quit. 

Quitting something doesn’t mean you are a “quitter.”  Putting “er” on the end of a verb and changing it to a noun indicates that the nature of the noun is to habitually do the verb. You can take the time to re-read that sentence if you need to.  The point is that if you are a quitter it means that you habitually quit.  That’s the part of the Lombardi quote that is absolutely true.  If all you ever do is quit, you won’t ever win.

Quitting something doesn't make you a quitter. It may be a display of wisdom. Click To Tweet

The little-known part of the Churchill quote continues, “never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”  Sometimes continuing forward is dishonorable and foolish. (Click here for an audio recording of the entire speech)

Four suggestions to know when to quit

So how do you know when to quit? I certainly couldn’t give every scenario, but here are four suggestions (along with some hard questions):

  1. Quit when the only reason you can think of for doing this is that you have always done it this way and you don’t know another way. (So, you’ve decided to quit learning?)
  2. Quit when it is taking more and more effort and resources to achieve diminishing results. (So, you’ve decided that working harder is more valuable than working smarter?)
  3. Quit when you are more worried about what people will think if you change it than you are about what God will think if you don’t. (So, you’ve decided to be insecurely driven by the whims of self-centered people rather than confidently trusting in the faithfulness of the Eternal Father?)
  4. Quit when you know it is not working, but you are concerned that you will have wasted the resources you have already invested in it. (So you’ve decided to waste some more?)

Maybe the most important thing to quit is worrying. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Your life matters to God.  He knows how where your effort would be best spent.  He knows what you should quit.  Spend some time listening to Him.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, argumentative, off-topic, or just plain unhelpful.