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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

Quit for Good

Never, never give up. Winston Churchill supposedly said that (but really didn’t). One can find a plethora of quotes in the same philosophical ball park. The attitude at issue is commendable, but I contend that there are situations in which a sane mindset would certainly give up.

One of the toughest physical challenges I’ve faced was climbing Mt. Rainier with my daughter and her husband. And I made the summit with only one thought in mind: “Thank you, Lord, that I can’t go up anymore.” A few years later found me attempting the summit again, this time with my son. Any serious mountain climber has a passion for reaching the summit, but on this second try I knew at 12,000 feet (with another 2,400 vertical feet to go) that the prudent thing for me to do was to head back down. I know my body well enough to recognize that I didn’t have the juice to make it to the top and then back down (the descent being where most accidents happen), so I gave up. To continue upward would have put myself and climbing companions at serious risk, so discretion became the better part of valor.

Indeed, there are times when one does not give up even if one’s life is at risk . . . which was the context for the above quote attributed to Churchill. But the point I wish to make is that there are circumstances when astute reasoning leads one to change course. In those cases, one does not need to feel like a quitter. In fact, in certain circumstances being a quitter is the sensible option. Another example might be a determination to make a living and support a family as a performing artist. When, after three years, the income level is below the poverty line and there is no indication that it’s going to get any better, the artist would do well to seek training for another profession.

Determination and perseverance are admirable – often necessary – qualities for a given task. But judicious discernment will at times support a change in direction, the consequence of which will be a more positive outcome.

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