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Want To Be The Best? Maybe You Should Start Quitting!

by Seth Williams on December 13, 2013 · 10 comments

  

What comes to mind when you hear the word “QUIT”?

I have to admit, some of the things I associate with quitting aren’t flattering. I’ve always associated quitting with other words like:

  • Loser
  • Failure
  • Pathetic
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Rejection
  • Inferior
  • Defeat

Many of us think along these lines because we live in a culture that has WAY oversimplified what it means to quit something.

Most people are raised to believe that “patience is a virtue” and “persistence wins out in the end”. Obviously, there is a lot of truth to these things in the right context – but perhaps it isn’t fair to cast such a negative light on ALL people who have ever quit something.

The Dip - by Seth GodinI read an interesting book this past week called The Dip by Seth Godin and it gave me a fresh new perspective on the subject of Quitting. At the beginning of this book, Godin cites a quote from Vince Lombardi (perhaps you’ve heard it before):

“Quitters never win and winners never quit.”

He follows this with:

“Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

What exactly does it mean to quit something? Does it mean “defeat” or “discovery”? Does it mean “failure” or “future”? Does it mean “rejection” or “recovery”?

When I think about the things I’ve decided to quit in life, I usually came to this decision to “pull the plug” when I realized that there were some new (and significantly better) directions that I needed to go in life. It didn’t lead me to a destination of failure – conversely, it usually led to a new stage of maturity, or perhaps an opportunity that opened up a lot of doors for me.

Where Would You Be If You Had Never Quit Anything?

If you’re honest with yourself, I think you’ll find that there are many instances in life when quitting is undeniably the right thing to do. What if you had never quit your first job? What if you refused to course-correct throughout your life? As Seth Godin eludes to in his book – Winners quit all the time. They just do it strategically.

The difference between successful entrepreneurs and floundering wantrepreneurs, is that the former knows how to identify when something is worth pursuing and when something is going nowhere, and they eliminate the things from their life that are going nowhere.

Admittedly, it takes a lot of wisdom and careful discernment to figure these things out. The answers aren’t always clear and this is why we all need to be continuously improving ourselves. This kind of foresight makes all the difference in the world in terms of which of us will reach our full potential and which of us will spend our lives chasing after the wind with nothing substantial to show for efforts.

As Seth Godin says:

“You really can’t try to do everything, especially if you intend to be the best in the world.”

It is undeniably important for each of us to shoot for the #1 position in our market. There are significant rewards for people who are the BEST at what they do. Think about it – if you woke up tomorrow morning and discovered that you needed open heart surgery, are you going to seek out the BEST heart surgeon in the world, or the surgeon who ranks 150th? Obviously – most of us want the best help we can get. Not #2. Not #5. We want #1.

Godin1As real estate investors – it is imperative that we shoot to be #1 in our market. Even if you don’t technically achieve that #1 spot – you still need to work your businesses with the mindset that you are the best person to do business with in your niche of real estate. Being the best will be monumental for your life and the impression you make on this world. The fact is, anybody who is #1 has had to quit A LOT of things.

Learn When To Walk Away

If you want to be #1 in your market, you’ll serve yourself well by figuring out what kinds of things you need to walk away from.

What kinds of daily or weekly activities aren’t playing a pivotal role in your business? What kinds of ongoing habits or behaviors are downright prohibiting you from bringing the best value to your market? What do you need to learn (or unlearn) about real estate investing in general? We all have wrinkles that need to be ironed out of our mindset and a great number of people don’t stand a chance of reaching the top until they start getting these things under control.

The takeaway is – don’t be afraid of quitting. It’s not the ultimate evil. In fact, it might even be the best thing you can do for yourself (depending on where you’re trying to end up). We all need to figure out which goals deserve our undivided attention and discern the few things that are worth the price of admission.

Don’t try to do it all. Create a short list of priorities for your life and business and be the best in those areas.
Photo Credit: Jessica Watkins DeWinter

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

James Overland December 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm

“Retreat so as to better advance” can also be alternative to just quitting.

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Seth Williams December 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I love that James – well said. That’s a quote worth remembering.

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melodee lucido December 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Excellent article Seth. So often I her people moan about things they could easily change if they only quit . . .

Thank you

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Seth Williams December 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

Thanks for your comment Melodee! Quitting is an option that all of us should keep on the table. Depending on what our goals are, it could be exactly the action we need to take.

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kama December 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I think of it like this: to be successful you need— persistence and flexibility. The flexibility is knowing when to quit, or when to quit the parts that don’t work (ie choosing a new direction), or when to outsource etc. So instead of quitting one investing strategy, I’ve been moving nimbly with a changing market! Flexibility! heh

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Seth Williams December 16, 2013 at 6:45 am

That’s a great way to look at it Kama – “flexibility” is one of those great catch-all words that can solve a lot of life’s problems. Thanks for chiming in on this!

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Sharon Vornholt December 23, 2013 at 7:39 am

I couldn’t agree more Seth. I am trying to “quit” some of the things I have been doing in my business by outsourcing them to a VA. There are a few more that I just need to quit doing period. They don’t serve me well anymore.

At this time of year everyone should do a brutally honest evaluation of how their business did this past year. It is a great activity for deciding what needs to be changed and if you actually need to quit something. Our businesses change and evolve over time and so must our activities and plans.

Happy Holidays Seth!
Sharon

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Seth Williams December 23, 2013 at 10:57 am

I hear you Sharon. Quitting is something that we all have to work on – pretty much ALL the time. There are probably at least a few things I should be quitting as well. I’ll have to work this into my New Year’s Resolution!

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Shaun December 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Great points and I will have to check out this book.

It makes sense to be a “Quitter” in many situations. Really makes no sense to feel compelled to do something that you don’t enjoy and isn’t really benefitting you at all, but lots of people will plod along because they feel they failed if they quit.

The key I think is, as said in the article, doing it strategically. Quit doing things that are holding you back. Don’t use an article like this to give you permission to give up on a new goal before you put in the effort to succeed, just know that it is okay to cut ties when it is clear that there is a better path for you.

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Seth Williams December 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Shaun. I’m glad you’ve taken the time to think critically about this.

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