There’s a popular quote in the motivational world that goes like this: “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” Upfront, this is one of the greatest myths about success. By the end of this article, I want you to replace it with this cliche: “Quit flogging a dead horse.”
If someone asks you, “Are you a quitter?” it feels like someone is asking you if you’re “too chicken”. It feels judgmental, almost like a test to measure your strength. This is the sad perception we have of quitting. We think the weak, unmotivated, and lazy quit.
You might be thinking this article is going to be of the motivational, never-give-up, stick-with-it, go-get-em-tiger, you-can-do-it type.
Nope. I want to destroy a false belief about quitting and success, that is:
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
The original saying has a degree of truth about it, yet in terms of the “never” part, it is wrong. Let me explain.
Let’s say you are single in search of a partner. You go out to your usual club and make a serious effort to look for a partner. After many unsuccessful attempts you begin to lose confidence. Frustration and anger set in as you are left wondering, “What am I doing wrong?”
What if you were doing nothing wrong, but the club is a bad place to meet people? What if the people you meet are the ones who have something wrong while you are fine? The music could be too loud or the people are already in relationships are two reasons you could be failing that you cannot control.
I don’t want you to develop the point of view, “Nothing is wrong with me. The world has the problem.” Certain things will always be out of your control.
So let’s get things straight. Some relationships do not work. Some people will always hate you. Some people are not going to be friends with you. Some bosses, co-workers, and customers will be jerks no matter what. Wealthy and happy people know this is how to build a successful life.
Whether you are religious or not, take the story of Jesus. He was perfect yet people hated him and killed him. He could not fully accomplish his goals in getting everyone to believe in him regardless of his perfectionism because people make their own choices that influence the situation.You cannot succeed in some markets or relationships no matter how good you are.
No longer is “if at first we don’t succeed, try again” true. That is the old paradigm. The new paradigm is “if at first we don’t succeed, see why it failed, and quit or try again though more intelligently.” (Don’t you just love these extended paradigms?) You can also take on the easier to remember cliche of, “Quit flogging a dead horse.”
If you follow the saying about never quitting, you could persist pursuing failures. The saying is a blindfold to push and motivate you into what will always fail.
When you learn a relationship isn’t going to work, an employee isn’t going to change, or your work is making you unhappy, stop persisting and running towards failure everyday. Certain things will not work out. Learn how to identify them.