If you want a life of meaning and purpose, you have to be willing to quit what feels meaningless and purposeless.
But if you quit things that are meaningless and purposeless, you leave room for things that have meaning and purpose.
Do you think it’s wrong to quit?
I used to.
I stayed in relationships that didn’t work because I was scared to be a commitment-phobe. I kept working on projects I hated because I didn’t want to be an underachiever.
I spent so much energy trying to fit in wrong-shaped molds. But imagine how much energy would be released if each of us stopped trying to be things we aren’t.
If we quit what we hated to be what we loved, how much energy would be released to improve our own lives, the lives of others and the world?
That’s more or less what happened in my life–I started quitting. After all, the empty space that was left behind by the things I quit got filled with opportunities for meaning, purpose and service. Quitting things that weren’t satisfying left room for things that were.
I joke, “I’m a professional quitter and now I help other people to quit, too.”
There are so many societal habits, frankly, that are just plain stupid and are wrecking the world. We should quit them. Similarly, there are so many individual ways of living that neither make us happy nor help the world. We should quit those, too.
Recently, a client of mine–a business school-type in a leadership position–was miserable in a job. But she kept thinking the problem was her and that, anyway, she couldn’t quit without a plan.
But finally, as we worked together, she did quit. Without a plan.
Recently, before even starting her search, she got offered a job that will make her happier and let her help the world more. She found out that, until we quit what is bad, there is no room for what is better. When we do quit what is bad, on the other hand, something better can come along.
That goes for us as individuals and for society as a whole.
You might say, quitting is the prerogative of the privileged. That may or not be true. But true or not, though, the question is, does saying that help your life or hinder it? Does believing you are not in a position to quit, help you grow or keep you stuck?
What should you quit? Is there even just a little thing you could quit right now? Choose something that isn’t meaningful to you and quit. Now, wait and see if something better comes along to fill that space.
Let me know what happens if you try it.