Vontae Davis was a letterman in high school football and track. He was so good that he skipped his senior year of high school to go pro, and when he got there, he was one of the best players in the league. During a game in September 2018, Vontae shocked the world of sports when, in the middle of the game, he decided that he didn’t want to play football anymore. When his teammates jogged into the locker room at halftime, Vontae jogged in and just kept on going. He had had enough. He quit!
In an interview afterwards, he said that, as a professional athlete, his body had been programed to endure multiple surgeries and to play through many different injuries. But on that day in September, something happened. Reality hit. His brain told him that he didn’t belong on the field anymore. He didn’t feel right. He felt that something was amiss. That’s when he decided that it was important for himself and his family that he just walk away. The decision was overwhelming but he was at peace with it.
Although Vontae Davis was at peace with his decision to quit football, many others weren’t. Some fans criticized him for “bailing” on his team. One said he took the coward’s way out. Another questioned, “What if a firefighter quit halfway down a high-rise while carrying someone out because his shoulder hurt?” Still another felt that he had the right to walk away, but that he was wrong because, “You don’t bail on your brothers when they need you most, in the heat of battle.”
Vontae’s situation is a prime example of the stigma and negative connotations associated with the word quit. It illustrates the notion that it is nearly impossible to quit without being labeled as a quitter.
When Vontae quit football, leaving was therapeutic. He left the injuries, he left the gladiator mentality and he left behind an identity that he had carried for so long. Should he have waited to quit the game as a result of broken bones? Torn ligaments? Should he have left his last game limping and longing for one more season? He quit football on his own terms. He was not stymied by the stigma and emotional trauma associated with the quit. He made a decision and he didn’t care what people would say. And that’s how winners do it!
Eight Good Reasons to Quit
Here are eight good reasons why you should quit:
- You’re doing it out of the fear of making a mistake. Fear can paralyze you. If your only reason for sticking something out is fear, then it’s time to move on.
You may be afraid that you’re not good enough to do anything else, or you may be afraid that you won’t have enough money. Whatever the case might be, you should recognize that the talents that got you where you are today will be more than sufficient to get you where you want to be in the future. Mistakes are part of life, so you should be careful if you’re doing something because you’re afraid of what might happen if you stop doing it. If that’s your situation, it might be a good time to quit.
- You’re doing it for the wrong reason. It’s probably not a good idea to keep doing something if it’s not what you really want to be doing. In other words, if you’re doing something out of obligation for someone else, it might be time to throw in the towel. It’s also not a good idea to keep doing something simply because you don’t want to admit that you made a bad choice.
- Your priorities have changed. Sometimes you just decide you want to do something different. That’s okay. You have to take risks in order to grow. If you try something and you find that it’s not working for you, that’s a good time to give it up and reposition yourself.
- It’s no longer fun. If a project or hobby used to be fun but you no longer enjoy it, quit! That’s not to say that you should quit willy-nilly. You also shouldn’t quit just because you don’t enjoy every aspect of a project. But if you get no enjoyment from it and you cannot fully immerse yourself into it, then you should move on.
- Doing more does not bring better results. This is known as the law of diminishing returns. It may be a good time to quit if you have reached a point where the benefits gained from your efforts are less than the amount of energy or resources invested. If that’s the case, it’s a good time to think about redirecting your efforts.
- There is no future. If you’re working a job or in a relationship that is a dead end, it is important to recognize it quickly. If something is just not working for you, it’s a great time to call it a day. The quicker you recognize that the project is going nowhere and the faster you disengage, the more success you will have.
- You always dread doing it. The project used to excite you but now you dread the thought of it. It may even be making you sick and causing burnout. Not only is it a good idea to quit for emotional benefits, it’s probably better for you physically as well.
- Something about it just doesn’t feel right. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut. If you are involved in an activity that doesn’t sit well with you, you should give it up. Your instincts are very powerful and they alert you to things that may be harmful. In this case, you might think about quitting, whether it’s a moral issue or just a plain bad deal.