Be Your Best Self by Being a Quitter

Updated on February 16, 2018
Stephen C Barnes profile image

Stephen has spent much of his professional life learning how to motivate himself and those around him to be the best they can be.


It may sound counter-intuitive, that to be the best you you can be, you need to be a quitter. All our lives we are told not to be quitters, and that "quitters never win". Our parents, teachers, sports coaches, college professors, and pretty much all the major influences in our lives tell us the same thing: "don't be a quitter". But is this always the best advice?

The answer to this question is no. Sometimes we have to be quitters to be winners. Just as we sometimes have to clean the old clothes out of our closets to make room for new clothes, often times we have to clean out the old and unproductive things in our lives to make room for the new and productive things. For example, people often plan to eat healthier. This is, of course, a great idea. However, before you can start eating healthier you have to make room for this in your life by first quitting unhealthy eating. We have to quit those bad habits, to clear the way for good ones.


Quit Those Unhealthy Habits

When it comes to unhealthy habits the one that first comes to mind for many people is smoking. There is probably not a smoker alive, or dead for that matter, who has not said at least once, or had it on every list of New Years resolutions, "I have to quit smoking". This is an obvious case of quitting to win, and something that every smoker needs to do. No matter how many times you may hear this said, or have even said it yourself, I can guarantee you, one hundred percent, that coffee and a cigarette is NOT "the breakfast of champions".

Smoking, however, is not the only unhealthy habit to quit. Before we can start a healthy diet we need to quit our unhealthy diet. Having an apple with our morning snack of potato chips and a coke is not eating healthy. We first have to give up the coke and chips. We have to quit those between meal snacks, and give up those fatty foods. We have to quit the access salt. We have to quit those late night binges. When we quit unhealthy eating we make room for healthy eating.

We have to quit being couch potatoes. If we quit being inactive we will automatically be active. If we are not spending our evenings lying on the couch watching television, for example, then we must, by necessity, be doing something else. We could go for a walk, or go bowling. Or, if we must watch television, we could do it from the seat of a stationary bike, and peddle our way through that evening of "reality" TV. The point being that if we quit being inactive then we must be active.

We also need to quit depriving ourselves of proper sleep. Most people do not get enough sleep, or good quality sleep. Whatever it is that keeps us up later than we should be, or interferes with our getting a good nights sleep, we have to quit it. There is nothing any Kardashian is going to do that is worth giving up a good nights sleep to see. And I cannot imagine how anyone, if the last thing they do before bed is watch the late night news, can have a restful, healthy, and rejuvenating sleep.

These are just some of the unhealthy habits we need to quit. It is up to every individual to take a good look at his or her own life to see what unhealthy habits each needs to quit.


Quit the Toxic People in Your Life

The people we surround ourselves with greatly affects the people we become. If we want to be winners we have to surround ourselves with winners, or people with winning attitudes. We need people who support us and our goals, and are happy for us when we succeed. Basically the exact opposite of a toxic person. Before we can have the right people in our lives, however, or receive the full benefit of having them in our lives, we first have to quit the toxic people.

We all have had exposure, to one degree or another, to toxic people. If they are a part of your life quit them now. A toxic person will only hold you back and keep you down.

Toxic people are easy to recognize; they are always negative, they criticize constantly, they are jealous, they are always playing the victim, they are completely self-centered and self adsorbed, and, though they may pretend to, they do not care about you. They are just a waste of your time. Worse, they keep you from being the best you you can be.

If you have one of these people as a "friend" quit that person now. This is a little more difficult if the person is a family member but the same still applies; quit that person now. If the person is a co-worker that you are forced to be around, have as little dealings with that person as possible, and do not let him or her inside your head. It may be difficult to deal with but it has to be done. And remember, it is only temporary. Either you will move on to bigger and better things, or the toxic person will self destruct. Their bad attitudes and behaviors in the workplace will always catch up with them eventually, and they will be gone.


Quit Wasting Time

Our lives are finite, someday they will end. We are all given just so much time on this earth, yet we are all guilty of wasting at least some of it. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow would you spend today plunked down in front of the television set watching Jerry Springer?

We have to get rid of those things in our lives that are time wasters and make the most of every precious moment we are given. We have to use our time wisely, doing those things that enrich our lives, and make them full, rewarding, and complete. These things will necessarily differ from individual to individual as they are very personal. The important thing is to discover what it is that fulfills you and do that, before it's too late.


Quit Complaining

We have all been guilty of complaining from time to time. Griping and whining about things just seems to come naturally. The problem is that, for many, complaining is the go to response to everything life throws at them. Just as calm, controlled, and confident says winner, constant complaining says loser. Nobody wants to be around someone who is always complaining. And just as big a problem, if not bigger, then how constant complaining affects those around us is how it affects us.

Complaining, whether we realize or not, makes us feel weak, pathetic, and victimized. We feel that life is happening to us and all we can do is whine about it. Complaining zaps us of our strength. We see life as a serious of problems and worries to be whined about and fretted over. Quit it.

We have to stop reacting to everything negatively. It is not necessary to complain about everybody and everything. Most of the things we whine about are little things that are not worth whining about. Someone parked in your parking spot at work: so what. Park somewhere else and shut up about it. Nobody cares, and you shouldn't either. You get caught in the rain and you don't have your umbrella: don't worry, you'll be fine, you're washable, you won't shrink, and you are not made of sugar, so you won't melt.

When you're tempted to complain about something, stop, take a minute, see if it is really worth complaining about. Realize that complaining will accomplish nothing anyway, and that the person you are thinking about complaining to does not want to hear it.


Quit Blaming Others

It's easy to blame others for the things that go wrong in our lives. If we have someone else that we can point the finger at for something it keeps us from having to take responsibility for it ourselves. But here's the thing, if we do not quit blaming others and take responsibility for ourselves then we can never reach our full potential.

Successful people know that they are responsible for their own lives, and for what happens in them. They realize that they cannot control everything but that it is up to them to take charge of their lives and control the things they can. They understand that blaming others is futile. It accomplishes nothing, and gets them nowhere.


Quit Making Excuses

There is no greater barrier to our success then the wall we construct with our excuses. It's easy to come up with excuses for why we can't, won't, or shouldn't do something. Just ask someone who has never accomplished anything. If you want to be successful you have to quit making excuses.

I don't have time to exercise. I don't know how to start my own business. I can't write a book, nobody would read it anyway. I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm too short. I'm too tall. Blah, blah blah..., these are not reasons, these are excuses. Nobody ever accomplished anything making excuses. So many people are so busy looking for reasons not to do things that they do not have time to find a way to do them. Quit making excuses.


Be a Quitter, and be a Winner

Despite what we have been taught all our lives, sometimes the first step to success is to quit. If it feels wrong, if it does not enrich your life, if it does not help you to reach your goals, if it holds you back, if it gets in the way of you being a winner, then quit it, and be the best you, you can be.

© 2018 Stephen Barnes


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