“Yeah, I’m a great quitter. It’s one of the few things I do well. I come from a long line of quitters. My father was a quitter, my grandfather was a quitter… I was raised to give up.” George Costanza (Seinfeld)
Beside “quit smoking” or “quit drinking/drugs”, the word quit is usually looked at as a negative behavior. We are taught not to quit and learned that only losers quit. What people don’t like to admit is that sometimes quitting requires courage. Quitting your cubical job to follow your dream job somewhere else requires gut. Parents may get a heart attack if they just hear that their son or daughter planning to quit school to start his/her own business. It is something almost never heard of especially in Jordan where people, mistakenly, believe that one can’t survive without a college degree.
I am not pro-quitting but I think quitting is overrated. When to quit is man’s worst decision making dilemma. In our social life, there are many scenarios that I can think of were quitting is good. The most important one is the decision that a married couple has to make when their marriage is right on the edge. Should they continue hoping that things will become better? How long they should stay together before they decide that their marriage is no longer possible? In some cases divorce might save their lives and their kids’ future.
The department of transportation came up with a brilliant idea to save money and time for both the drivers and the rest of the world. They planted “Dead End” signs at the entrance of every neighborhood that leads to nowhere. Unfortunately, we don’t have such privilege in our life. We have to struggle before we find that we reached a dead end.
In the research field, there is no crystal clear answer to when should a PhD or a researcher stop or quit his research if he is working tirelessly with no gain. Pursuing a dead end research is a waste of money, time, and one’s self. How far should a PhD student or a researcher go before he decides that his efforts will lead him no where? No one can answer this question or find a formula to when to quit because no one knows the future.
On the other hand, should one pursue his dream whatever the consequences. Believing that his tireless efforts may one day lead him to success? Thomas Edison said “I have not failed 1000 times. I have successfully discovered 1000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.” Imagine how many years humans would have lived with no light bulb if Edison quitted his dream after his 999 trial.
So, the everlasting question is should one quit when things are not in his favor or continue hoping for the best? Also, when one should decide to quit before wasting years on something that may lead him to a dead end eventually?