If you want to succeed, you must first quit

What psychology and business are saying about success, and when to say no

Many of us have been taught that when it comes to life, we should not be quitters, be it at a job, friendship, or romantic relationship. Such a mantra has been the ideal model, as it instils an idea of realness, loyalty, and reliability. Though these qualities are excellent and important in many facets of our lives, also knowing when to say no, and quitting certain commitments, is just as important, whether this is an unfulfilling job, a doomed relationship, or an unhealthy friendship. Furthermore, new emerging research suggests that quitting things that are not helpful to us is a better predictor of success than commitment alone.

4 ways that being a quitter leads to success in various areas of our lives

Quit doubting yourself and your capabilities.
Having confidence in what you can do is very important in improving your quitting skills. According to Dr Bradberry, co-author of emotional intelligence, when it comes to dominating within the areas of life we desire such as business and relationships, confidence speaks volumes. The trick is that you have to truly believe in your abilities, and not simply “say” that you do. Fake confidence does not take you far in the long run.

Quit doing the same thing repeatedly if it does not work

This one is important because though many of us understand this, it is so easy to continuously try something over and over again hoping that persistence equates to success. this could look like constantly asking someone out that is not interested in your advances, a thankless job, or even something as simple as the way you approach people and situations in life. If your approach is not working, find another way that may be less aggressive, passive, taxing or unproductive to the things you are trying to achieve. There are many winding roads to success in many areas of life; being willing to be flexible enough to take them will prove more beneficial for you than hammering away at lesser options.

According to Dr Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Health, when it comes to habits, creating them is natural, especially for the bad ones. Once we figure out that some habits we engage in are not good for us, the journey to replace negative habits with positive ones is difficult, but worth it for us in the long run.

Quit thinking that everything “will work out in its time”.
The truth is, nothing really comes to us without some sweat on our brow and some “win some, lose some” moments. The bottom line is if you want something bad enough, you will put in the work for it, even on days where you do not feel like it. When it comes to the things you want most in your life, such as a promotion, a better social circle, or a productive work environment, your negative feelings about the maintenance work of such wants need to be accepted and pushed through to get the results you are looking for. Things work out when you work them.

Quit saying “yes” to everything all the time.
We all know of times where we may feel that the need to connect with many people, many hobbies and activities is imperative to us, whether it be for business reasons or personal ones. Though commitments to things outside of the home and work are not necessarily bad, over-committing to things can take a toll on us as well.

Furthermore, being the “yes man” all of the time can be linked to a lack of boundaries. For example, let us be cheeky for a moment and say that you are a person who loves conch fritters. Whenever fish fry come around, conch fest, and even regular get-togethers, you pile up on it. One day you decide that you want to lead a healthier life, including cutting back on said delicious fried food.

Once you start doing this, your friends, family and even the businesses you frequent may start noticing your change, mentioning how you do not eat conch fritters anymore, and they may even question if something is wrong with your health or personal life. Now of course, for this example I am being quite elaborate, but do you catch my drift? If your decision to say no to certain things is done towards the betterment of you, that is all that matters. Learn to say no sometimes, and like it.

Final thoughts

There will be many moments in life where we will wish that things would make sense and go smoothly, whether they be in business deals, friendships, courtships and more. However, the truth is, life, people, and circumstances are not like that. Oftentimes we find ourselves having to place boundaries with co-workers, friends and even family members we never dreamed of doing while quitting behaviours as simple as unhealthy eating habits for us to be the best version of ourselves.

In a world where yes and fluidity seems to reign, it takes a good sense of self-awareness and self-respect to know when to say no, place healthy boundaries, and quit things or people that are of no help and benefit to our overall well-being. There will be moments where we will make some misjudgments and all-out flops when it comes to practising this new skill, but it will eventually become natural, and self-respect and self-awareness will grow.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

Share this article with a friend

Written by Brigida Walkin, MSc, MBPsS

Brigida Walkin is a Registered Counselling-Psychologist within the UK.

Brigida has a Masters in Professional Counselling, and is a registered counselling psychologist of HCPC and BPS. Brigida enjoys helping others realize their potential for the healthy life they envision for themselves. Brigida brings multicultural perspectives to counselling.… Read more

Written by Brigida Walkin, MSc, MBPsS

Show comments

Find a counsellor or psychotherapist dealing with low self-confidence

All therapists are verified professionals.

Real Stories

More stories

Related Articles

More articles