Why Quitting Shouldn’t Always Be Considered a ‘Cop-Out’

“Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations. Reactive quitting and serial quitting are the bane of those that strive (and fail) to get what they want.”                                                                                           

Seth Godin, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

“Successful people are quitters? OK—the guys at 5.am have lost their minds.”

Or have we?

The idea that successful people are quitters is counterintuitive, isn’t it?

When we think of successful people, we think of people who are persistent in reaching their goals.

But that’s only half the equation if you want to live a maximize life.

Successful People Are Quitters

“Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt.”

Seth Godin, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

In Seth Godin’s book, “The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit,” he talks about a concept he calls “The Dip.”

The Dip is that stretch between starting something and making tangible progress, i.e. accomplishments.

Have you ever started a new workout program with lots of enthusiasm and quit before seeing results?

Have you tried starting a business, but given up before the money started coming in?

What about a blog? Most bloggers never gain traction, build an audience or make money online because they quit too soon.

That’s “The Dip.”

It isn’t glamorous, but it’s an essential part of growth. Most people simply don’t have the persistence in them to see it through, but you aren’t like most people, are you, 5am.er?

On the other side of the coin is quitting.

We’ve been told since a young age that we should never quit.

  • “Don’t give up!”
  • “Finish your food!”
  • “Don’t be a quitter!

But this is wrong. Winners quit and winners quit all the time.


Because they’re masters of prioritization.

“When quitting is done correctly, it isn’t giving up – it’s making room for something better.”

Adam Kirk Smith

Successful people have built a filter, over time, that helps them distinguish between what’s important and what isn’t. It’s the same concept Stephen R. Covey discussed in his bestseller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Being successful means getting good at quitting low-value activities and saying, “No.”

Think about everything you’ve done over the past week.

What activities were absolutely essential to your success? What activities should have been avoided (or delegated to someone else)?

Don’t be a yes-man.

Get good at saying “No” more often, and you’ll see your levels of success increase.

We all have 24 hours in a day. Quit more often so you can focus on what’s truly important.

How to Know When It’s Time to Quit

“Here’s an assignment for you: Write it down. Write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it.”

— Seth Godin, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

Here are some questions you can ask yourself the next time you think of quitting:

  • Why do I want to quit? Ask yourself “Why?” three times to get to the root of the reason.
  • Do I want to quit because of the pain it’ll take to finish?
  • Or, do I want to quit because finishing won’t help me reach my goals?
  • Does this activity align with my Purpose? If it doesn’t, ditch it.

Always think of the bigger picture.

Short-term discomfort is the price you need to pay for long-term success.

Don’t let pain stop you if it’ll yield a larger reward down the road.

Wrapping Up

The hustle and grind mentality’s gotten popular over the years in self-improvement circles.

But don’t confuse it with 18-hour days that don’t move the needle.

Hard work that isn’t tied to some greater purpose is just…well, hard work.

In short, reevaluate what you’re doing to get ahead. Don’t get tied up in busy work or dead ends.

Instead, you need to plan and prioritize before you execute.

Do this and your persistence will pay off in the long run.