The Difference Between Quitting and Giving Up

When you “quit,” you decide something isn’t worth continuing.

Sometimes it makes sense to quit; to stop something that either wasn’t worth starting (but you only know that now) or isn’t worth continuing.

Even if you have invested time, energy and money in something, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and stop.

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Giving up is something all together different.

Giving up is letting adversity, or difficulty, or even a little challenge discourage you (and stopping . . . ).

Giving up hurts (at least) twice: once when you do it and again when(ever) you think back and wish you had continued.

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How do you tell the difference between quitting and giving up?


How do get that sort of experience?

By having quit some and given up some – and paying attention to how each feels.

I am sure you’ve done both.

Take the time to consider how different experiences from your past feel. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to tell the difference.

Understand the difference? Can you feel the difference? Remember the difference.

Now you have the awareness necessary to know when you’re quitting and when you’re giving up.

Do the former when necessary; avoid the latter at all times.

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  1. I quit playing football this past year after being turned down at my college for a tryout (I was informed that all tryout players were turned down due to coaches wanting to try recruitment expansion). I played 4 years in high school and after senior year I was lost as to what to do with my time besides my upcoming track season (which I lost due to an injury some weeks prior to the season opener). I decided I would work hard and try out for the college team, and though I put a ton of effort into it as well as being told I was one of the hardest workers in my football class, I lacked the talent to be able to play well in high school and as mentioned before was turned down at my tryout. Since then, I have stopped playing football. Does that mean I have given up? Is talent a wall I truly cannot scale, or can I overcome the adversity made by my lack of talent over a longer period of time?
    Did I stop playing a game I love with a rational decision to move on, or did I give up when I could be so much more, but it will take extra time to develop?
    Did I quit, or give up? Please let me know what it was if you can.

  2. The question you ask is deep and nuanced. Quitting is deciding to stop something. Giving up is allowing yourself to get overwhelmed and stopping because it’s easier that what you think you should do.

    The key here (and usually in life) is self-awareness. To the extent you know yourself you can ask questions like: “Did I really put in as much time and effort as I could to develop my skills and physical capacity?” or “Do I just not have the “talent” for higher levels of football?”

    There are all sorts of stories we could both point to of people who defied the odds and overcame a lack of “talent” and “made the team,” but they are exceptions. And rarely do their stories get told including an accurate telling of how much work was necessary. For most people, working “that” hard for “that” long just isn’t in the cards — and that’s okay.

    Do you need to re-dedicate yourself to developing your skills and physical capacities so you can make the team? Maybe? Or maybe you can find others venues to play football? And maybe you can pair that with being involved in other ways with the football team you wanted to be on… perhaps in some non-player role?

    Get to know yourself better. Think (much) less about what other think. Stay curious and work hard at what’s in front of you. Learn to choose carefully what you put in front of yourself.


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