Growing up, I loved to start things. Well actually, as an adult I love to start things, too. Who we are is pretty much who we are.
I tried piano, soccer, swimming, tennis, theater, voice lessons, dance, set painting, photography, the literary magazine, student council, a book club, multiple little businesses, and more.
Some of them I stuck with. Some of them I quit.
I hated going to piano lessons, and I hated practicing. I told my parents I didn’t want to go anymore. They told me I would regret quitting when I got older. So I kept going.
One day my teacher told my parents they should let me quit because I was so miserable playing the piano. So they finally let me quit.
Following through on something if doing it makes you miserable is just plain silly.
Do I regret the fact that I don’t know how to play the piano? Maybe once every two years or so. Not enough to have made being miserable for several hours a week for my entire childhood worth it.
Might I have learned to love it? Maybe. But I discovered so many other things that I loved right from the get-go with the freed up time that who really cares if I would have learned to love piano eventually? It’s not like I was going to be able to master Chopin. (And even if I were, would that mean that suffering through all of those hours of lessons and practice would have been worth it? I tend to think not, but that’s another topic for another day.)
After seeing Pink perform aerial stunts in concert three times in one year, I became obsessed with learning aerial silks. The summer we got married I got in the best shape of my life and was ready to rock the aerials.
I signed up for an adult aerials class, and I was so psyched.
Each week when it was time for class, though, I found myself having to psyche myself up to go. I’d invested money in the class and I’d dreamed about this for so long! But the reality is I was having to drag my ass there, and after class I didn’t feel the rush that I often feel when I do something despite feeling resistant to it.
The truth was, the warehouse was freezing, I was terrified of heights, and it was really, really hard mentally (due to having to overcome my fear every moment of every class) and physically (due to having to climb two stories on a piece of silk).
As one of my favorite writers, Glennon Melton Doyle, says, “I can do hard things.”
But I wasn’t loving it. It was hard and that was all it was. It wasn’t hard and exhilarating. It wasn’t hard and satisfying. It wasn’t hard and fun.
It was just hard and uncomfortable and stressful.
So I stopped going.
Would I have continued to build the strength and gotten more and more over my fear of heights and perhaps started to enjoy it more?
But I would have had to love it in order to make it worth it being so hard.
For example, I love writing. Writing my book was hard. A lot of it felt like slogging. But even during the hard parts I loved it, even just a little bit.
My Buti Yoga workout videos are hard. I sweat buckets and my muscles burn. But even during the hard parts I feel good. And I feel ah-mazing afterward.
Public speaking is hard. I freak out before every single talk I give. But the moment I start, I feel amazing and afterward I almost always feel more alive (unless I bombed, which happens to the best of us but luckily not most of the time).
Just because something is hard doesn’t mean not to do it.
But if something is hard and you don’t like it, there’s no need to keep going.
Life is short. Don’t waste it doing things you don’t like just because you started them.
If you don’t like something, you don’t have to keep going, whether it’s hard or not.
Your time is precious. Devote it to the things you love. Period. Get rid of the stuff you don’t. Period. No one is giving out awards for suffering through something you hate, or even mildly dislike.
Are there certain hard things that you don’t like and that you don’t have the option to stop doing? Of course! I don’t have the option to stop waking up in the middle of the night with our baby, even though it’s hard and I don’t like it. So I just do it (and find ways to like it more, like reminding myself how fleeting the time is that she’s going to be so small and need us so much).
But there are so many things that we have choices about. So stop doing the ones you don’t like, even if you think it will make you a quitter.
Quitters are discerning.
Quitters have freedom.
Quitters know the value of their precious time.
Quitters know that if they don’t like something it’s taking up valuable real estate in their schedule that could be used for something they would really love.
Stop doing that thing you don’t like. You are needed here on earth in the most blissful state we can get you in. Doing things you don’t like isn’t doing you any favors, and it’s not doing the rest of us any favors either.
Cut it out. Quit. Stop. And get on with your precious life.
OVER TO YOU:
What are you ready to not do anymore? How do you feel about quitting? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
P.S. What if this summer your business profits, impact, and satisfaction expanded beyond anything you’d previously achieved, and perhaps beyond anything you’d previously imagined? Mike and I just opened up a small, exclusive group coaching program for business owners, The Art of Business. We want to work with you to up-level your business so that you look back on this summer as a meaningful turning point.
We only have 50 spots and they’re getting scooped up fast but I wanted to make sure to let you know about it before they’re all taken. We’re laying out all the details in a special webinar this Thursday, June 16th at 10am PT/ 1pm ET. To reserve your spot, click here.