in life

Quit. Start. Follow Through.

When I and we talk about starting something new – whether it be a new job, a new venture, a new place, a new relationship, we don’t focus on the starting.

No, we get hung up on the quitting.

We make bold statements like, “I’m going to quit my job.” We tell everyone how great it’s going to be to quit. To walk into our bosses office, toss him the finger, and pack up our things. And folks ohh and ahh at how impressive it is that we quit.

But quitting is easy. You can quit whatever it is you’re doing today, right now. You may not know what that means for tomorrow, but you have total control over quitting today. That, alone (quitting), doesn’t deserve the applause.

As Travis Campbell of 37signals says:

“Starting something is only a little bit harder. It’s easy to start something. Following through is the hard part. Just look at the landscape of abandoned blogs that litter the web for proof of that.”

We respect and admire those who not only quit – who not only start something – but who follow through. Who pursue something with everything within them for days, months, years – and see it through to success.

Those people who stick with it, even when the going gets tough. Even when they feel like giving up. Those people who keep creating. Keep trying. Keep moving forward. Keep doing.

We may get hung up on the quitting, but it’s the hustle, the drive, and the perseverance that is so attractive. It’s the follow through that should be applauded. That path is the one worth following.

As my friend Sarah Peck wrote yesterday on Twitter:

“The goal is not to quit your job. The goal is to find something worth doing, and do it.”

The story you write for yourself and the story we want to hear will not be one of quitting, but rather, one of beginning, and one of doing.

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  1. Posts like this is the reason why Life Without Pants is one of my favorite blogs. I also often hear people talking about quitting, but I hear the word “start” less often. One of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur is to continue to follow through when your initial momentum fades away. But, on the other side of that follow through is the big potential reward. Thanks for writing!

  2. So true Matt. It’s a little like people saying they want to win the lottery so they can quit their job and lie on a beach all day. It’s easy to buy into the highly impossible dream but it’s harder (yet more possible) to acheive your dreams through sheer hard work.

    Whatsmore, it’s impossible to acheive happiness simply by quitting something you don’t like. I like Tim Ferriss’s view that the opposite of ‘happiness’ is not ‘sadness’ but rather ‘boredom’.

    That’s why although I blog about ‘ditching the desk’ it’s actually not the act of ditching the desk that will make me content; it’s having the freedom to achieve what I want to achieve when I’m not shackled to my desk for the best part of the day.

    In the short-term it’s a challenge, and I often feel I’m getting nowhere fast. But the only thing that will ensure my success is ‘self-belief’ and ‘sticking with it’!

  3. So true! Self-motivated, self-sustained long-term persistence seems to be rather rare these days.

    To draw an example from offline life, I’ve been really involved in a martial arts/dance form called capoeira for the past 10 years. Peoples’ eyes tend to pop when they hear how long I’ve been doing it – and I used to shrug because it didn’t seem like a big deal to me. Then someone pointed out to me that that’s practically the same amount of time as a college degree + PhD, all of which I’ve done on my own steam (time/energy/money) without anyone forcing me to.

    A mere 5 months into my entrepreneurial journey, I’m trying to keep that in mind and just keep pushing forward!

  4. This couldn’t have come at a better time!  

    I’m two months out of my corporate job and yes, I now realize that quitting was in fact the easy part.  

    I walked out of that office feeling fantastic.  Now, two months into my new career and I realize, oh snap, here is the hard part.  

    Getting up, knowing what to do to get more ladies interested in working with me, to get money rolling in the door, to get more and more clear on my message, my mission, to figure out which intuition should be followed and which is just hesitation and fear.  

    I really love your writing, Matt.