The Collaborative Divorce Center

Understanding the Science of Quitting: Insights and Strategies

The Science of Quitting

Knowing when to say to when is hard. If you are thinking about quitting something, it is probably already past the time when you should have thrown in the towel. This is because the moment that you go from “failing” to “having failed” is the toughest one. It is why people die on Mt. Everest. Once they quit, there is no possibility of them getting to the top and that is hard.

We are often, if not always, convinced that we can turn something around when we are well past the point of no return. And, when we quit, we feel like we made a mistake in the first place, and no one likes to believe they could have made such a colossal mistake to begin with.

Here’s what keeps most people stuck: the fear that if they do make a change, they won’t be any happier!

So here are some questions to ask yourself if you are unhappy and wondering whether it is time to call it quits:

  1. What is the chance that I will be happier three months, six months, a year from now (you pick your timeframe) if nothing changes? (Most likely the answer is zero)
  2. How long am I ok with this?
  3. What does “success” look like at the end of that time?
  4. What would tell you that nothing has changed in that time?
  5. What is the chance that I will be happier three months, six months or a year from now if I do make a change? (Most likely the answer is more than zero)

Using this framework, we can get ourselves to a decision about whether we should give up on something sooner than we otherwise would and that means that we reduce the time it takes us to chart a path to better times.

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