What does “Quitting is not an option” really mean?

This powerful, albeit overused phrase has always reminded me of steel faced, grim warriors, preparing to storm third world dictatorships and rescue fallen comrades. As I matured, and gathered more education and life experiences, I began to adopt a slightly different mindset about this simple phrase. My new mindset came more from a place of “absence of” vs. a sense of power or resolve. What I mean is that in situations where “quitting was not an option”, the option of quitting was simply, beautifully, conspicuously … absent.

The freedom that this state of being brings is almost indescribable. In fact, I’m having a hard time describing it. So the way I explain it to people is that when encountering a difficulty or challenge in some area of your life, you have a mental “list” of options that you begin to assemble. Quitting is not an option simply means that quitting never even shows up on that list. when it IS on the list, the other options are almost always less attractive and more difficult to pursue. Why? Because they require action, delay of gratification and often times, hard work. Because quitting, in contrast, is almost ALWAYS the easiest, quickest option, requiring nothing more than a talent for justification and a willingness to move into “victimhood”. Now of course, quitting really SHOULD be a viable option in some cases. Picking the wrong stock, moving to a job that more suits your purpose in life, etc. But how about your children? Would you put them up for adoption if they got a c on their report card? How about if one came home pregnant at 14? You and your wife or husband arguing about the best school to send junior? Most likely your answer is a quick, brow furrowed “no”. It doesn’t even come up on the “list”.

“Quitting is not an Option” is really about freedom and surrender, not really having a choice and accepting that you don’t really have a choice. The freedom to choose which of the other options will work, and then pursue them with all your energy. Surrendering to your path, knowing there’s no going back, no quitting. Accepting that you really “don’t have a choice”. Not having a choice about something simply means that you know in your heart of hearts that this is what you “must” do, and to do differently means living a life of regret …

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  1. […] Quitting is not an option. It’s perfectly alright to fail, but not to quit. […]