How To Be A Quitter (Or Not)

If you’re reading this post based on the title, I’m guessing you have big plans for yourself, a life full of TV-binging and underachievement. I’m just kidding. I’m guessing you assumed there’d be an actual lesson in here somewhere. So read on and you just might find one.

I can sum it up in just a couple of simple steps…

How to be a quitter…

  1. Maintain little to no faith in yourself
  2. Give up

You’re welcome.

Okay, well, maybe there’s more. 

I’ve always been a quitter. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. When the going gets tough, I tend to get going…in the opposite direction. It’s not that I’m not willing to work hard, I’ve just never had the confidence in myself to stop worrying about what other people will think if I’m no good or what it says about me if I fail (which is really nothing except for the fact that I have more to learn).  I quit the only sports team I was ever on as a kid, a baseball team called the Apaches comprised of all boys and me, because of a particularly cold and rainy day when I didn’t want to play, I just wanted to go to Wawa and get some beef stew (which is exactly what I did). Although, I guess that’s not entirely true; I was on another sports team briefly that I didn’t quit, an intramural basketball team in the 5th grade, on which I ended up scoring six points in the season.  Yes, in the entire season, and I’m still proud of that, so just keep your mouth shut. Accomplishment is relative, okay?

I quit dance class because I was going through puberty and felt awkward and embarrassed in my leotard (how dumb, right???). Unlike baseball, dance was something I actually enjoyed, and quitting is something I still regret. I’m not saying I’d have ended up as a backup dancer for Beyonce or anything, but still.  I’ve quit jobs because I got antsy, or felt like I wasn’t good enough at them, or they made me anxious (don’t get me wrong, though, I’ve also quit jobs for very valid reasons). I’ve volleyed back and forth from one career goal to another, given up on diets and exercise plans because they were too hard. You get the point.

And then I decided I wanted to learn web development. So I started some self-studying through Codecademy, confirmed my interest, and took the plunge to sign up with Moms Can Code School. Learning to code can best be described as an emotional roller-coaster, a constant fluctuation between “I am never gonna get this,” “I’ll never be able to do that,” and “I can’t believe I just figured that out,” “This is so awesome.” While the valleys are low and frustrating, the peaks provide a rush of endorphins similar to that I get from a good run (another thing I’ve recently managed to not quit…Am I sensing a pattern?). The sense of accomplishment I get from figuring something out, from solving that puzzle, from creating some tangible evidence of a job well done keeps me afloat when I feel like I might drown in self-doubt. Maybe that’s the difference. Maybe none of the things I’ve quit in the past have ever provided the contrary feelings. Maybe I’ve always gotten to a point where I only felt defeated. So here’s the thing: If you want it badly enough, find the high. Find the excitement and the passion and the drive to keep learning. And if you just can’t find any of that, well, then maybe it’s not so bad to be a quitter. Because something out there will excite you, will ignite that passion, will be appealing enough to keep you going. But keep your eyes open, because when it presents itself, you don’t want to miss it.

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