OC Emberton

The secret to winning is quitting

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One of the most dastardly lies ever told is that “winners never quit”. Total bunk and claptrap. Winners quit the right things. If anything, they quit more often.

If you play the lottery each week, persistence will not help you. Positive thinking is no aid either. The only secret to winning the lottery is not to play.

Have you ever overstayed in a bad relationship? Refused to throw away an outfit you’ll never wear? Squeezed a spot too long? You should have quit sooner.

We’re naturally biased towards wishful thinking. We mistake a burning desire within us for certainty that we’ll get it. But willpower alone can’t rewrite the laws of the universe. If you truly believe you’re destined to marry Megan Fox, I’m not going to say ‘keep at it’. You’re a delusional moron, and you shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near scissors or a working Facebook account.

But what about all of the wonderful people who achieved wonderful things through persistence? What about Edison and Elon Musk and Colonel Sanders? If they’d quit, they’d never have got anywhere!

Well, obviously. They chose the right things. And they quit everything else.

Say you’re an entrepreneur. Funny thing about companies nowadays – we have no shortage of them. Entrepreneurs are like musicians or bloggers; almost anyone has the means to become one. Lots of people are trying.

As a result only a slither of companies, songs or blogs can be successful. The abundance has raised our standards.

This does not mean you should quit everything. It means you should quit if you’re not going to meet those standards, and try something else. If you’re willing to look, you’ll find no shortage of better alternatives. Cut your losses and move on.

Everyone knows it takes hard work to become successful, but that’s only half the story. It also takes courage and insight to pick the right things, and quit everything else.

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