I live in a generation, where individualism has become an increasingly important aspect of the human experience, especially with the creation of, and increased popularity of such concepts as social media branding and hustle culture.
There is a consistent chase to become, do and achieve something, so much that we continue to push ourselves until we are able to attain all that we want to, and even more.
In secondary school, we are told that we need to come out the top of our classes because “our mates do not have two heads“, in the university our parents expect us to come out with a first class in one of the top course areas – medicine, engineering or law – obviously, and even now, factoring in the poor economic state of our country Nigeria, everyone expects you to have a side hustle as well.
The concept of a side hustle has so pervaded the money discourse that it is in reality, no longer at the side. If you must be successful at all, then you must have something that you are involved in other than your primary engagement.
Having a single focus is no longer the epitome of individualistic achievement. It is now being able to juggle as many things as possible, without letting anything go. Society expects you to walk a tight rope with a pole in your mouth and a glass cup of water on your head without spilling a drop, all while some monkeys are jumping excitedly on your shoulders.
As I’m sure you can figure out from that analogy, it is impossible, but we try nonetheless and amazingly, a select few of us do get to achieve the impossible. Sure we pay for it in some way or another, but we eventually do get to that point where we feel like we’ve achieved something of what is expected from us.
The reality however, is that most of us will not get to have this fairytale. Some of the things we try out will fail, and we will be unsuccessful in some of our endeavors. We have been taught to see this as an evil outcome to which we swirl our hands over our heads, spit at the devil and say “God forbid“, but is that the truth of this outcome?
Hustle culture has us believing that only losers quit. Only those who are incapable of truly achieving their innate potential will fail so terribly that they have to abandon certain projects and attempts. Is this true?
Isn’t the truer reality the fact that quitting is actually an option available to us? That true success is probably being able to identify the kind of things that do not deserve further effort, either by your inability to tackle them in the way that you need to, or a current insufficiency of your skill set? Aren’t there things that are sincerely not worth your time and effort, and should abandoning such things be considered failure?
Failure is a heavy word; the weight of which is borne most easily by those who have no real concept of what it means and who are in denial of its weight on them, but it shouldn’t have to be so heavy. We find it easy to call others failures while usually ignoring the areas in which we ourselves have failed. The pot calls the kettle black, but is too afraid to look at its own sooty body.
If we accept that failure is in fact a normal part of the human experience, not to be treated as a plague but rather, understood and probably even used as a means for self evaluation, we can then see the opportunity that quitting provides and all that we can achieve when we consider quitting as a legitimate option.
A quick Google search of quotes about Quitting will expose the kind of mindset about this discourse that leaves you a lot more with anxiety than it causes anyone to be successful. Some even claim that quitting is the easiest thing to do, whilst calling it the worst thing in the world, but again, is it?
A lot of us are too scared to quit that toxic job, course, relationship, lifestyle, etcetera, until it causes so much damage to us that we`re backup up against the wall, beaten, wounded and bleeding all over.
Quitting early enough provides you with an opportunity to truly evaluate your options. If you can quit on your own terms, then should you decide to keep on, you are conscious of why you have decided to do so.
The point of all this isn’t to tell you to quit whatever it is you’re doing at the earliest sign of discomfort, but to let you know that there is nothing too important to quit. That while hustle culture and social media will have you believing that you have to conform to societal expectations and keep at things that you are truly exhausted of, you can quit and you should consider it as an option.
Successful people aren’t just “people that don’t quit“. They are people who have a genuine reason to keep going and so, keep pushing until they succeed. There are tons more people who are keeping at things that they should have left long ago and they are no better for it.
Be it a particular way of thinking, an approach to achieving a goal or even an opinion or belief that you have held for a long time; if you do not quit it when you should, you will become obsolete in a world that is moving on.
Those who invent new things are those who have chosen to quit the old way of achieving that particular goal. If they never quit the old ways, the advancement of science and the human race would never have reached its current pace.
Quitting is a gift, an access point to newer realms and levels that were previously unavailable to us and we must treat it as such. Rather than put red ribbon around the entrance, along with danger signs and stickers, how about we just put up a simple sign that says think carefully before you enter?