Walk Away: Don’t Keep Running A Race You No Longer Care About Winning

In Blog, Discipline
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Walk Away: Don't Keep Running A Race You No Longer Care About Winning - Dre BaldwinYes, persistence is a key to success. Yes, you should keep working hard even when things get difficult. True — success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s true — quitters never win and winners never quit.

But none of this shit applies when you’re doing a task that you’re not passionate about and is no longer part of the chief aim of your life.

I have a friend who joined a volunteer organization some time ago. He showed such promise in the group that he was nominated — and subsequently voted — to a high position within the organization which he accepted without knowing much about the responsibilities of such a position. He was flattered by the admiration the group had for him in such a short time, and set about doing the (somewhat substantial) work of his new position.

After a couple months in his new position in the volunteer organization, my friend seemed to be growing more and more disgruntled with his role. It was much more work than he expected, on top of the fact that he was doing more work than anyone else, including the holders of the top positions. My friend was lamenting that he hadn’t known all the responsibilities of his position before accepting it and that he didn’t like being treated as if he was required to do so much, as if he was actually being compensated for his efforts. He had initially joined the group only to meet some new people and possibly make some business connections.

I advised my friend that there was nothing stopping him from vacating his spot in the group, either to reduce his role back to mere member, or leaving the group altogether — after all, he was a volunteer — they couldn’t make him do it. He, like many of us, was pulled in the opposite direction by his obligation to complete a job he had accepted, even though he no longer enjoyed it. It was actually making him dislike the organization as a whole and he was dreading every meeting of the group, knowing what he would have to deal with. His own sense of duty was pulling him to feel obligation to something he no longer enjoyed.

No word yet on what he did, but you can take his story as a cautionary tale. When the race is no longer the race you want to win, stop running! Is the moral victory you achieve by finishing what you started worth what you lose in peace of mind, happiness, energy, and the time spent running the meaningless race? Is it?

So Dre, are you telling us to be selfish? YES!

Remember that your first obligation in life is to your own personal advancement — if something that seemed to be helping you advance is no longer doing so, it is your duty to yourself to walk away. You are not obligated to a group over yourself; in a weakened state, you are less and less valuable to anyone else. You are not obligated to what someone else wants or expects from you, unless you also want it.

There are too many races to run in life for you to fool yourself into thinking you must run them all. Choose your races carefully, and when you realize you’ve chosen the wrong race, get off at the nearest exit.

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