Wanting to quit is normal

I was helping my son with his math homework last night. He was doing exponents and while it wasn’t the hardest material, 1380056428707it was monotonous and the number of questions he had to do was quite long. Especially after football practice. He was doing a good job with it, but a little past halfway he started to get upset. Not at the math itself, but at how long it was taking him. He thought it would go quickly and it just wasn’t. He was frustrated and wanted to quit.

If I had to count how many times I wanted to quit because it was taking me too long to finish something (a home repair project, project at work, A BOOK!) the number would have too many zeros for this page. Wanting to quit is normal. Normal for kids, normal for adults, normal for everyone. When it gets too hard or takes too long, many people just stop, move on and do something else, something easier, more pleasant or fun. But quitting is rarely the answer.  

It’s how we deal with the “wanting to quit” that makes us all stronger, and to be frank…enables us to finish the “math homework” in our lives. The perseverance and concentration to finish doesn’t always come easy. Here are some tricks I’ve used to help me finish without quitting.  

 

  1. Quitting is NOT an option – If quitting is not an option, you will never quit. Just keep telling yourself you will not quit and trudge on.  
  2. Reward yourself – Sometimes you just need a little  incentive – whether it’s a round of disc golf, watching a TV show or piece of cake. Say to yourself, “I will treat myself when I’m done,” but only once I am done and not a second sooner.  
  3. Take a break – That’s what we did during homework. Often taking a break is just the ticket, especially if it’s a long project. Take a little time off from it and walk away. Grab a snack. Talk to someone. Break up the monotony. But then get back to it.
  4. The light at the end of the tunnel – People use the phrase, “Keep your eye on the prize.”  That sense of accomplishment is a huge motivator (it is for me anyway). I want to say, “I did it.”

While writing Lemonade Stand Economics I used all of the above. I would sit down and write for hours, thinking I’d created a masterpiece only to have my editor hand it back at me covered in red ink. I would sit and write for hours knowing that I still had 5 chapters to go…then 4…then 3 and so on. I took breaks. I ate peanut butter cups after chapters. I went for walks and played board games with my sons – then I’d get back to it – all the while knowing that the finished product was going to change the lives of some readers. It took longer than I thought, was way more work than I ever dreamed, but not once was quitting an option.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t quit.

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