Sometimes it is better to give up and renew your purpose.
In medical school, I thought I wanted to be a urologist. Those are the doctors who talk sperm and urine all day. I spent months spending time with the urologists. I’d see clinic patients, help with surgeries in the operating room, and even did presentations on exciting topics.
During my time with urologists at my home hospital, my car broke down. The engine went out entirely and had to be replaced. Along with new tires and suspension, it cost me $3000!
Then, during the next month, while visiting a different hospital, I was supposed to study for a mandatory medical licensing exam. I had to push back my examination 2–3 times during that month to focus well enough.
Then in a different month in urology at another hospital, someone stole my car on the last night of my visit. I walked out of my temporary housing, luggage in hand, to an empty parking spot where my car once sat.
After all that, I didn’t land a position in urology. I should have known when to quit. Urology wasn’t my fate.
We’ve all been there. We’ve tried everything we know to do. We struggle with advancing in our job, relationship, coursework, or career path. We’ve prayed. We’ve meditated. We’ve spent the time. We’ve thrown money at it. Our friends and family have done what they could. Or they’ve discouraged you from the beginning. From romantic relationships to career goals, sometimes calling it quits is the best option.
The journey takes away your joy.
Pursuing a worthy goal is never easy. You will have barriers. Those barriers will force you to learn and adapt. If the constant grind is enjoyable and doesn’t extinguish your fire, then keep grinding. If you’re burnt out or depressed, then call it quits. The frustrations should not far outweigh the rewards.
Your essential relationships deteriorate.
I wrote that we all sacrifice relationships to pursue our goals. The jealous friends and acquaintances will fall by the wayside. Please get rid of them. You don’t need negative energy.
Your spouse or other close friends care much more deeply about you. Those people will love you regardless. They’ll be your biggest cheerleaders. They may even support you monetarily until you get on your feet.
If the pursuit of your goal whittles away at your core relationships, then strongly consider calling it quits. But do not question your purpose based on jealousy, rumors, or hate. My wife calls these people frenemies.
You are broke.
Every dream costs something. Men, we tend to want to shower our spouses with gifts and expensive dinners. If that facade drains your bank account, then you should reconsider how much your spending.
If your dream is to own and operate a door to door vacuum cleaner sales company in Indonesia, but you can’t afford to supply the vacuums, fly to Indonesia, or live there without income for a year, then you should quit.
If you’re attempting to finish professional school, but you already have six figures of debt, you may need to quit. Or at least pursue scholarships or creative financial aid.
Your purpose has changed.
Along the way, you realize that your goals have changed. We live. We learn. We grow. You may not need things you once thought would bring you happiness and riches. That’s ok. You know that it is time to give up. Redirect toward a new goal. You likely weren’t far off anyway.
Similarly, you should know to quit when you’re staying for the wrong reasons. Don’t stay to avoid hurting someone, your stubbornness, or fear of making less money. Quit, your happiness and freedom are worth it.
You learn the realities of your dream.
While driving toward your goal, you realize it wasn’t what you envisioned. Sometimes, you realize your destination won’t be sandy beaches and violet sunsets. On your path, you encounter people who’ve been there.
Suppose your South Beach is more like Manhattan Beach, then you should consider turning around. Don’t let your past efforts and stubbornness drive you to the wrong destination. Just admit your misconception and move on.
The Fates are against you.
In greek methodology, the Fates were three goddesses who assigned each mortal a destiny at birth.
Some things in life are not meant for you to have or achieve. Every forward step should not be accompanied by three steps back. You need to quit if every step forward is a chore, or you meet barrier after barrier.
Accept that you seek a different fate. Your happiness and your self-confidence are not worth the sacrifice.
You cannot see a solution.
If you have tried everything in your power to progress, but you stall. When your success and happiness depend on the stars aligning, then you know it is ok to quit.
Through my career in medicine, I have seen many dreams dashed. I’ve seen folks disappear after too many failed exams or unpaid bills. The debt alone would be enough to drive most people to drink. Don’t be so stubborn that you drive yourself into bankruptcy or depression.
Here are your doctor’s orders.
If the work takes away your joy completely. Accept that the journey saps your joy. Find a new goal with fewer sacrifices.
When your essential relationships deteriorate. Try to determine why your relationships were challenged. Find an alternative with a better fit.
If you run out of cash Adjust your expectations to a lower-cost option. Find creative funding methods.
When your purpose changes. Start exploring again to develop new goals.
If you recognize the actual reality of your dream isn’t great. Divert to a new goal. Relish in your new freedom.
When the universe is against you. Take time. Find your purpose. Determine your priorities. Reset your goals.
Before you quit
Find yourself. Determine what made you so frustrated about the last situation. Determine how you contributed to your own sadness. Develop a backup plan to hold you over until you reach for the next dream, job, or relationship.
Until Next Time my People.