I recently hit my 25th anniversary as a Sensei for Sanchin-Ryu Karate. For twenty-five years straight, I’ve held my own classes and the experience has fed me in ways that have been massively rewarding.
One of the questions I have been asked by newer Instructors is why people leave their dojo and/or cease to study. There have been numerous occasions during my first 20 years where I had a hard time tolerating the loss of a student. I would reach out to my instructor, the Chief Grand Master, and he would aide with some perspective. What I realized was that I had created an association of how I felt about myself and my worth based on what someone else did or did not do. Now I’ve come to think that the word “quit” has gotten a bad rap.
So, why do people stop doing something? This question obviously plays into many things that we, as humans, do on the daily. Many of us were taught as kids not to be quitters. To honor our commitments. To stick it out. But it is the first thing we ask a loved one to do if they have a smoking addiction. Obviously, smoking infringes upon one’s good health. But don’t other situations sometimes do the same thing?
The question remains: When should we quit something?
Here are the Top 3 Reasons to let something go:
1) When what we are doing no longer serves us.
There are times when we do things that bring us joy and fulfillment and discover later on that they no longer do… for whatever reason. One of the easiest examples might be in our relationships with people. We are all dynamic beings. Sometimes this means that our friendships will evolve in a way that make us realize that the things we once shared in common cease to be or simply change. Remember this: relationships last for a reason, a season or, in some cases, a lifetime. There is nothing wrong with recognizing the shift in your friendship with someone. Acknowledge that it served you both in some way for some time and that it might just be time to move on.
2) When we have committed to something which is not aligned with our truth.
Let’s face it, most people today commit to too many things. In addition, they are often afraid to say “no” to someone out of concern that they will let others down. There can be a fine line between ambition and a sense of obligation. Do any of your commitments (i.e.: being part of associations, committees, sub lists, leagues, teams, etc.) feel like a burden or a chore? Examine why that is and realize that always putting others/the team first does not allow you to bring out the best version of you; especially for those you most want to give it to.
3) Actions or activities that are short-term focused that have long-term repercussions.
This could include things like poor diet choices or reckless activities.
I should mention that those three things pre-suppose that you are conscious enough to assess your situation. Here is an example: If I said that I would quit my study as a martial artist as soon as it was no longer fun to practice, I would have quit a long time ago. I might have justified to myself that it is not aligned with my truth. But this wouldn’t have been accurate. It would have been a story that was built on rationalization because while I might not want to practice at times, overall, the experience contributes to my betterment as a martial artist and Sensei–and I never regret the practice or work out afterward.
Yes, we should do less.
Yes, we should quit committing to things that are not aligned with our own truth and purpose.
Yes, we should quit acting in ways that are dysfunctional.
Yes, we should quit throwing good money after bad.
Winners do quit and quitters do win.
Take 5 minutes–right now–and ask yourself, What am I going to quit doing?