A popular piece of advice is to “never quit”, but it’s not always a good way to approach things. Certainly you don’t want to give up too early, but choosing to “never quit” can be foolish.
As Seth Godin shared in his book “The Dip“, he says:
“Never Quit” What a spectacularly bad piece of advice. It ranks up there with “Oh, that’s a funny dirty joke, let’s tell the teacher!” Never quit? Never quit wetting your bed? Or that job you had at Burger King in high school? Never quit selling a product that is now obsolete?
It reminds me a lot of what Annie Duke talks about in her appropriately-named book “Quit“, where she shares many examples of when quitting is the right thing to do. In her world of poker, she shares how pro players fold their hand more than twice as often as amateurs; quitting early is the way to win!
And pros are just better at that choice, playing a mere 15% to 25% of the two-card starting combinations they are dealt in Texas Hold’em. Compare that to an amateur, who will stick with their starting cards over half the time.
In his book, Godin indeed goes on to make the point that quitting isn’t always the answer, but the key is to know when to quit and when to stick. His advice is simple:
Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.
Quitting should be something that you’ve considered carefully, not done in the heat of the moment. If things are going poorly, push through to a place where you can see things more objectively, and then make the decision to quit or not.
If you’ve not read The Dip, go check it out now. It’s quite short (you can likely read it in under an hour), and Seth frames it in a way that makes a lot of sense.