(or, Why I’m a Big Fat Quitter and Not Ashamed to Say It)
A recent guest post by Emilie Wapnick on Life After College touts the benefits of being a quitter – what a relief!
Wapnick writes about the misplaced stigma of quitting in our culture and suggests that some people – she calls them “multipotentialites” – are better suited to bounce from role to role, rather than settle into one deep-rutted role for life. She suggests that there’s no need to feel like a failure for giving up; it’s okay to quit when it’s time to move onto a new thing.
I stayed married years longer than I should have because of a fear of giving up on my relationship, feeling like a failure, and drawing the criticism of everyone around me. When I finally decided it was time to end it, the relief was unbelievable, and it opened up all of the quitting opportunities that have shaped my life now. I realized that it wasn’t about giving up on the relationship that wasn’t working. It was about moving on to the next phase in life that would work.
Within six months, I had quit school, ended the lease on my apartment, and quit my job. I was a writer, and I was moving to California. Six months after that I was making a living writing, had published my first book, and was growing my blog. In the past six months, I’ve quit another lucrative job. I’ve doubled my readership, published my second book, and begun work on a new project. Though I tend to leave a trail of unfinished ventures in my wake, I continue to move forward and make progress because I am always shedding the things that would hold me back and focusing on what’s right for me in the moment.
Every terminated project, job, apartment, relationship, or hobby is an opportunity to try something new, and everything you try is an opportunity to learn. What is so easily forgotten by those who would perpetuate the stigma of quitting is that quitting something doesn’t make it a waste of time. Every phase in the life of a multipotentialite adds another layer of experience and expertise. For those of us who can’t commit to any traditionally-defined path, purposeful dabbling can be a great way to create our own education and shape the right path.
Are you a multipotentialite? How have you benefited from quitting?
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