Beating a Dead Horse (or knowing when to quit)

There is a fine line between persistence and stubbornness.

Beating a Dead Horse (or knowing when to quit)

Yesterday I ended a journey. It’s not something very profound in the traditional sense of the word, I guess. I just… I finished a series, ok? But it was, in fact, a Journey. I had been watching it since 2013, and it taught me a lot of things about myself, and I laughed and cried with it. Watching the last couple of minutes felt immediately nostalgic, but I also felt a sense of closure. And there I had my ‘Aha’ moment: Closure! ‘That’s what I’ll talk about for the next entry’, I said to myself.

Well… kind of.

It has to do more with knowing when to give closure to a project and get on with the next thing. Think of it as the other side of the coin of my ‘half-baked ideas’ entry, if you will (will you?).

Yes, sometimes we give up too quickly or get stucked on something and ditch an otherwise valuable effort. But other times —yes, overachievers and workaholics, I’m looking at you— there’s the opposite problem, the ‘beating a dead horse’ kind of one. And, come on, no one likes the dead animal punchers.

Just listen to Randy, guys.

But when is it ok to say, ‘this is as far as I’ll go’? It’s hard isn’t it? After all the effort, the time, the money, the hardships, I’m going to quit? It’s not an easy choice, and it’s even harder in a world where we’re constantly encouraged to follow our dreams and never quit as long as you love what you’re doing —which is, under normal circumstances, pretty awesome. So if I give up on my project I’m not passionate enough? I wasn’t good enough? I’m too jaded to follow my dreams? Well, the conversation is a little bit more complicated than that.

Perhaps you are tired and burned out and just need a rest or something that will get you excited about working on that project once again. But maybe you should ask yourself if you have done everything in your power to make that project work. Then, it’s your turn to be super honest with yourself when trying to answer that question. Maybe ask a couple of friends if they can think of something you haven’t because you can’t see the forest for the trees.

Maybe you haven’t developed the project too much because you are afraid of what would happen if it actually works. Will you be able to manage things once they are running? Is it going to turn into something you are afraid you will eventually hate? Again, the advice is honesty and having enough self awareness to know when you are being rational vs when is the imposter syndrome and self-sabotaging version of you the one that’s talking.

And if, to the best of your knowledge, you are being sincere to yourself and turns out that project was indeed something you didn’t expect would …I don’t know, suck your soul, then, by all means, quit! You are not a loser for doing it. You are not less of an entrepreneur, or a creative, or whatever. You are just trying to do what is best for you, and that’s the best you can expect from yourself. I mean, that’s why people start their own businesses, to be in charge of themselves.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to the soundtrack of the show I finished recently, and although I loved it and I’m sad it’s over, I think it was for the best, and I’m grateful it didn’t turn into a corrupted version of itself.