Time To Go

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. If at seventeenth you don’t succeed, quit being so stubborn.

There comes a point in every endeavor when it’s time to throw in the towel. I know that doesn’t sound very motivating, but it’s true. And trust me, it’ll get really motivating when you’ve thought about it.

Every activity you could engage in falls in one or more of the following categories:

  1. Things you’re good at.
  2. Thing you love doing.
  3. Things people will pay you for.

There are things I love doing that I suck at. I’m a terrible singer, but when no one is listening I actually really enjoy it. There are things I’m good AND that I love but that don’t have much value to society at large. I’m great at playing with my kids and I love doing it, but people aren’t beating a path to my door to hand me money for it. There are things people will pay me money for, but that I don’t love and I’m not good at. In theory people will pay me to perform heart surgery, but I’m not any good at that and I certainly don’t love it so it’s probably not a good idea. Even things I’m good at and people will pay me money for, I don’t always love. I wouldn’t say I loved construction sales, but I was good at it and it made me money.

You don’t always get to do things that fall into all three categories. If you do, it’s really awesome. But even if you don’t, that’s okay sometimes. Sometimes I do things I’m good at and people will pay me for, in order to have money to do things I love. That’s a perfectly acceptable trade-off.

Sometimes, however, you find something that doesn’t fit into ANY of those categories. You’re doing something you’re lousy at, doesn’t make you any money, and you don’t love. Maybe you’re trying to get better because you think the activity’s ranking in one or more of those categories will improve. And maybe it’s worth a second or third try to find out. But it’s probably not worth a tenth.

This isn’t me telling you to give up on your dreams. If it were your dream to do X, then X would at least have a high ranking in the category of “things you love.” I’m telling you to give up on things you hate, aren’t good at, and don’t make money.

This is surprising advice to many people. You probably have at least one thing you’re doing that meets that description.

You know what I hate doing? Yard work. I’m terrible at it; my gardens never grow, my grass is always yellow, etc. I get no enjoyment out of it. And it doesn’t make me any money – quite the opposite. It usually costs me money because I take so much time to do even simple landscaping tasks.

So I hire someone else to do it. I save money because I can work during those same hours and make more than I pay (yay division of labor!). Instead of “keeping at it” until I was good or until I loved it or until it made me money, I quit.

My life is better for it. It could be something as simple as yard work or as big as your current job. But there’s something in your life you should quit right now. Free up your life to pursue something that fits better into one of the three categories.

Maybe all three!

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