Overthought #1: To quit means progress.

Overthought #1: To quit means progress.

Nov 05, 2022

I am aware that a good majority of people reading my work are people who identify with some or most of the same struggles I face. It is a daunting idea, terrifying on a bad day, still heavy on a good one. A lot of times, people will send messages of thanks for my words of strength so this entry might be a swift left turn.

However, unpopular opinion: quitting is as much part of growth as it is enduring. Hear me out. There is so much shame tacked on with the concept of quitting where, to be honest, there shouldn't be. So many of us are embroiled in the hustle-and-grind culture because it’s the only idea that seems socially acceptable. You quit, you lose. You quit, but what if it gets better? You quit now, but what if you regret it? I’ve heard all of those before, there is a good chance that you might have, too. So we persist, and in most cases, persistence is good; but we fail to see that sometimes, things just don’t get fixed despite staying. At the risk of sounding like a broken record for all the times I've said this before, I truly believe in leaving situations that do not serve you. Life's too short, man. So many stay in toxic situations because of their history with it/that/them and I understand why I really do. It's what we're taught; if we got brownie points for each time we grit our teeth in situations that we need to endure, we'd open bakeries. 

quitting is as much part of growth as it is enduring

When I say to quit means progress, I mean just that. To quit means opportunities to start over, start again, start on a different starting line. It's not for everybody, I get it, but the option is there. I am also aware that not everyone is afforded the opportunity to do so, privilege definitely takes part here. This isn't preaching, just telling you options, you know best how your situation is now. However, never underestimate the power of knowing that something is possible. (Just knowing that the option is there is such an eye-opener. It broadens the possibilities.)

And perhaps, my version of quitting involves restarting elsewhere. I guess I'm hopeful to my core despite pleading otherwise. I am a proponent of starting over and to start over, you need to leave things behind. 

I did a quick search about quitting and I came across this article on Zapier that introduced me to the idea of Sunk Cost Fallacy. It’s one of those moments that I thought, ‘It has a name?’ (side note: it’s the same response I had when I first read Alan Hanson’s Have You Encountered the Softboy? It has a name? It has a name! I digress.) In the simplest, most Filipino way I can summarize this fallacy is when we say “Sayang naman!” to justify persisting in a situation that no longer makes us grow. And that somehow, the invested resources, be it time, money, or emotions will justify staying. (In some cases, it does.) Further explaining this fallacy is this article by The Decision Lab, they said: “If we acted rationally, only future costs and benefits would be taken into account, because regardless of what we have already invested, we will not get it back whether or not we follow through on the decision.”

They connected this fallacy with Loss Aversion, also in this article by The Decision Lab, they defined loss aversion as “...cognitive bias that describes why, for individuals, the pain of losing is psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining.” (Let that sink in a little bit, let us marinate in this.) And doesn't this just make you pause? I did. Suddenly, reevaluation of life decisions seemed urgent. How many opportunities did I not jump on because I was terrified of losing the cards I held? It wasn’t being comfortable anymore, it was being complacent. The kicker on sunk cost fallacy is the “if we acted rationally” part; which, as emotional human beings, is oftentimes difficult to do.

So ask yourself, have you gone complacent? Are you in a situation that no longer makes you grow? Have you become someone that you need to stop being? Because I reckon, you can quit parts of yourself, too. To be honest, I think this is harder to do even though it seems to be the most rewarding. Perhaps the first step in all of this is to change our perspective, to see the gains more than the losses. Or to not see quitting as a shameful act. Perhaps that's the point I wanted to make in the first place. 

To be honest, I feel as though there is so much left to unravel with this topic. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of it even though so little has left me reflecting upon myself. I can only imagine what more overthinking could bring. Maybe I’ll take a stab at it again in the future when I’m better equipped but I’m going to quit here for now. For, you know, progress.

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