Goldthwaite famously said that we should keep quitting until we end up some place where we don’t want to leave.
It’s a brilliant, albeit bruising approach to the dreaming process.
But it also implies a key question. How do you decide when it’s time to let go, and when it’s time to dig deeper to keep your dream alive?
Nobody knows. Because nobody talks about it. This country doesn’t take kindly to quitters. That would be unamaerican. Round these parts, giving up ain’t an option.
Which is an inspiring slogan for bumper stickers and billboards. The only problem is, if knowing when to give up on a dream and try something else isn’t a subject that our culture is comfortable with, people will never learn how to quit intelligently.
I’ve quit dozens of things in my life, from teams to universities to jobs to relationships. But although each experience was unique to its own time and place, the missing link was always desire.
I had lost the ganas, to invoke the legendary math teacher. And that’s not an insignificant thing.
Desire is the one ingredient that allows us to withstand the pain and doubt of the process. Desire is what fuels hope and ignites the soul, even in the face of the rejection, ridicule, and indifference with which the world often greets our dreams.
History has proven this a thousand times over. When our desire has no bounds, when we want it more than anybody and will do whatever it takes to make it happen, not even gravity can stop us.
However, if our desire has atrophied into obligation, if it’s feeling harder and harder to even care anymore, it’s like multiplying by zero. No matter how big that number is. Because anything multiplied by zero is still zero.
And so, that’s when we should quit. When the desire is gone. We should move on because there is not enough glue left to keep us motivated to make it through the many challenges and disappointments we will have to face.
That way, we can forgive ourselves for our failures, find the next stone on the path and keep moving the story forward until we land somewhere that we don’t want to leave.
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How do you decide when it’s time to let go, and when it’s time to dig deeper to keep your dream alive?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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