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Thinking About Quitting

I'm reading the book Quit - The Power to Know When to Walk Away by Annie Duke, a former professional poker player who quit her Ph.D. program one month before defending her dissertation. She shares that quitting can be counterintuitive, especially before it is validated. Yet those who wait too long suffer the consequences.

This last week I climbed Shasta, a 14,000-foot peak in Northern California, with someone who walks faster than I do and usually glides up the trials. When we hit 10,000 feet, altitude sickness snuck in, and she quickly became nauseous. She vomited at 10,500 feet. "We can turn around," I said. - "No, I want to keep going," she insisted.

At 11,500 ft, she vomited again. "It's okay to go back," I said. - "No, let's keep trying." Her mental strength was impressive - to push up that mountain another two hours without food or water, take two steps forward and slide one back in the scree up to 12,200 feet. But she was weaker, and it felt dangerous. At that elevation she realized she could not go farther on that day. "Let's turn around," she said. And we did. As we returned to the the 10,000-foot elevation, the sickness went away.

Quitting is a virtue, and we should have changed course on Shasta at 10,500 or 11,500 feet. It was the wiser and safer choice, but we pushed on too far until the consequences became obvious. Had we observed the signs, we would have turned around sooner. Annie Duke shares that it's hard to be confident without going too far. But the reality is that wiser, smarter, more experienced individuals can see those signs sooner and save precious time and resources by quitting.

Is there something that you should think about quitting?


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