In the environments and the conditions that many of us grew up in, (especially within competition) quitting was intolerable. Anyone ever heard a coach yell that “winners never quit and quitters never win?”
There is a time and a place in where quitting is right decision. Knowing when to quit and under what terms to quit is the hard part. Continuing on to a point of peril, to never quit, makes no one a hero.
Picture a boxer being beaten badly with no defense left, yet they won’t quit the fight. Remember, winners never quit. Fighters are expected not to quit whether admirable or ignorant. Only a referee’s stepping in to stop the fight or one unconscious boxer laying on the mat could end the competition.
What if the boxer had made the reasoned choice to “quit” before that fight by giving up the sport or choosing not to even take the fight, knowing a brutal defeat was imminent.
Never considering, planning for, and making the decision to quit is illogical. This is true for all of us and not just with unwinnable boxing matches, veteran professional athletes near the end of their career or with aging CEO’s. There is a logical time when quitting isn’t just for losers. Stepping away is allowed to becomes the most reasonable, but difficult choice.
The sports community seems to currently be struggling with the fact that a famous pro quarterback, Andrew Luck, suddenly and decisively quit. Many feel he should still play and not just quit. Some season ticket holders have asked for their money back. He’s decided to no longer enter the fight, to quit because the effort isn’t worth it any longer, and the consequences of pain are too great.
When you quit is often the difficult decision. There is a time and a place where quitting is necessary and you shouldn’t wait for the referee to stop the fight.
I’ll close with a quote from ultra-marathon runner Dick Collins on quitting and how he offers guidance on the making the decision:
“Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to decide to stop and drop out. You don’t want to be out there saying, ‘Well, gee, my leg hurts, I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and it’s cold, and it’s windy…’ and talk yourself into quitting.” “If you’re making a decision based on how you’re feeling at that moment, then you will probably make the wrong decision.”
An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?