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Book Freak #53: Know When to Quit (and When to Stick)

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Short pieces of advice from books

Seth Godin is the author of innumerable books on leadership, creativity, business, and change. He also has a terrific podcast called Akimbo. Here are four pieces of advice from his book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick).

Before you start, decide when quitting is the best choice
“Here’s a quote from ultramarathoner Dick Collins: Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out. You don’t want to be out there saying, ‘Well gee, my leg hurts, I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and it’s cold and windy.’ And talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.”

Quit before you start
“If you’re going to quit, quit before you start. Reject the system. Don’t play the game if you realize you can’t be the best in the world.”

Before you quit, ask yourself if you have anything to lose by continuing
“When the pain gets so bad that you’re ready to quit, you’ve set yourself up as someone with nothing to lose. And someone with nothing to lose has quite a bit of power. You can go for broke. Challenge authority. Attempt unattempted alternatives. Lean into a problem; lean so far that you might just lean right through it.”

Know when not to quit
“Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.”

Book Freak is one of our five newsletters from Cool Tools Lab (our other four are the Cool Tools Newsletter, Recomendo, Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Talesand What’s in my bag?).

-- Mark Frauenfelder 07/12/21