Personal MBA published some time ago an interview with Seth Godin, about his new book, The Dip. The book tackles the art of strategic quitting, a topic which made me think a lot since many years ago: “when should I quit?”
Even today, I don’t have the answer. I have quit a lot in my days, and I was even “blamed” by my best friend that I’m surrounding myself with an imaginary harmony, that I cannot face the difficulties of life, that I refuse to see the truth: “life sucks”. I don’t think my friend was right (at least, that was her truth, not mine). However, she made me ask myself if I’m not quitting too soon. I never wait until things get really bad and stable (this is what Seth Godin calls a “cul-de-sac”); I leave at the first signs of things going on this path. Why wait, when I know it’s not going to be OK? I never keep connections with people I don’t like. I don’t want to make myself unhappy, only because X or Y person can bring me a lot of business in the future. I don’t want to trade the present for the future.
Now, Seth Godin comes and makes me think again: what if some of those times I was in a dip and I quit too early, kicking away some great outcome which was waiting for me at the end of all the troubles? How longer should I have been struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel? (This cliche amuses me very much: in the early 90’s, after the revolution, some politicians were promising the people that they will finally see the light at the end of the tunnel – almost 20 years after, we still don’t know where that light went – maybe it was only a light bulb which got broken meanwhile, and there’s nobody left to fix it)
How long is it too long? How do you set your thresholds? How do you know what’s at the end of the tunnel: the light or the hungry bear?