True Grit or Time to Quit?
Annie Duke – a former professional poker player, has a new book out: Quit – The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away. Apparently one of the main differences between elite players and amateurs is knowing when to fold.
In our oftentimes binary world of pass/fail, win/lose, somehow ‘grit’ has been made the hero of the story, while quitting has become synonymous with being a loser, a failure, a coward.
Grit apparently, ‘builds character’ while quitting is judged as weak.
Grit is seen as a virtue; quitting is a vice.
They are seen as opposites, when in reality they are different sides of the same coin.
Grit is great when it gets you to stick to hard things that are worthwhile.
The problem is that the bias towards grit can lead us to sticking at things that are NOT worthwhile.
Imagine if everything you ever did, you had to stick with it forever?
The possibility of quitting can give us the courage to try new things in the face of uncertainty.
In reality we often have to make difficult decisions with limited information and lots of uncertainty (projects, relationships, jobs, major purchases). How impossible would that be if we didn’t have the option to quit?
But though we do have the option to quit, often we don’t use it, because of this bias towards grit and against quitting.
However, if you learn to quit well it can actually get you to where you want to be more quickly, while sticking with things that aren’t worthwhile will slow your progress.
If we don’t quit the s**t we are wasting time, we are wasting our lives, and life is short.
And it is simply not true that if you just stick at things you will be successful.
We often hear polished stories about the people who stuck with it (whatever ‘it’ is) and eventually made it, but we don’t hear about all of the things they had to give up along the way.
We don’t tend to hear quite so much about people who stuck with it far too long and didn’t make it, or the sensible sorts who quit while they were ahead, because these stories don’t fit the dominant grit/quit narrative so neatly.
So, to conclude: Stick with the things that are worth sticking with. Quit the rest.
What do you need to quit doing?
See: https://www.annieduke.com/books/ and it is also available on Audible.
Oh PS and BTW: in ACT this is what we would refer to as psychological flexibility.
PPS: thanks for sharing this with me EP 🙂