What if you just quit today? What if, all of a sudden, you made the snap decision to quit doing everything you don’t care about and started doing only what’s truly important to you?
What would life be like if you finally pulled the trigger? I think that’s a question worth asking yourself.
Of course, it wouldn’t really be a snap decision at all, right? You’ve been thinking about doing it for months. Maybe even years. What’s stopped you?
Was it some sort of responsibility?
Who do you really owe it to? Your family? I don’t have a family to take care of and I won’t pretend I know what it’s like to have one, but if you’re sticking it out in a job you hate or doing something else that makes you grit your teeth to keep up the status quo for the family’s sake, I just want you to ask yourself one simple question:
What example am I really setting? I don’t necessarily think there’s a right answer, but I think it’s worth asking.
Was it a lack of imagination?
Maybe you don’t know what you’d do with all the extra free time? Is that worth worrying about? Sometimes, you just have to jump before the net appears. If you’re lost on the road, it’s pretty hard to find your way from where you are. Usually, you have to make a turn off of the map before you’ll ever see which direction you’re actually supposed to head.
We all get 24 hours each day, and somehow we manage to fill them up no matter what happens. What direction would you head if you had some time to explore new time-fillers?
Was it a fear of the repercussions?
What will your friends think of you if you just quit? What will your boss think? What will your family think? Do you really care what any of them say? Internalize that question—the real answer below the surface might not be what you think it is.
The people you care about and who care about you might be shocked, but they’ll get over it, won’t they? If they won’t, are they worth caring about? That’s the hardest question.
The Art of Making Things Better
Why didn’t you just quit a long time ago? You really wanted to, didn’t you? I know, now you’re comfortable and things seem to be working out. If you stick it out just a little bit longer, something might come along to make things better.
- Maybe you’ll get a raise and then you’ll be happy.
- Maybe all that work you’re doing will finally pay off, even though you hate it.
- Maybe if you hide your feelings long enough, they’ll just go away.
That’s the conversation I had with myself for six years before things finally snapped. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t felt like the same person since. When I look at who I was just a few years ago and compare that person to the Tyler I know today, the two are almost unrecognizable. Whenever I find myself complaining about something and wishing it were different, I try to remember that things get better when I actively make them better, not when I wait for them to get better on their own. That almost never happens.
- You’ll get the raise, but you won’t be any happier.
- The work will pay off, but you’ll still feel dead inside.
- People will stop asking if you’re okay, but it won’t be because you are.
The day I quit trying to motivate myself to do things I hated was the day I came back to life. I’m still alive, I’m not homeless (yet), and my family doesn’t ask if I’m doing okay anymore because they know I am.
Do I get it perfect every time? No, I still do dumb stuff that I wish I didn’t—that I wish I’d said no to—but I’m working on it, and things are trending towards “more awesome” all the time. That’s progress I can live with.
Fear is always worse than reality. I can conjure up a spectacular failure in my mind every time I try something new, but how many times do you think any of those catastrophes have ever come to light?
If you guessed zero, and I think you did, then you’re right. So, why do I continue to be scared and think about how terrible things could get every time I try something new? The answer is probably for the same reason it happens to most of us—living your own life really is scary and hard, but it’s worth it.
An Outside Perspective
Sometimes, an outside perspective—the view from someone who isn’t so wrapped up in your situation—is what you need to finally get over yourself. I need it on a regular basis, so that’s what I want to give you today—an outside perspective.
- If you quit your job, you’ll figure out how to make money again. The world demands it, so you will.
- If you quit that project today, you’ll start another one. Your ego demands it, so you will.
- If you walk out on that relationship that’s going nowhere, you’ll walk into a better one. Your soul demands it, so you will.
So, you know all that shit you hate doing? Stop it. Life is going to be okay, but not until you grant yourself permission to stop, because no one will grant it to you.
And once you stop, what will you start doing instead?
Image by: macwagen