The art of knowing when to quit

In this post I explain why phrases like “never give up” or “winners never quit” have very little scientific rigor. Giving up on time is also an art and you must learn to do it.
The art of knowing when to quit

We usually read on social networks and in the online world, that we must persevere, that we must fight until the end, and never give up. Examples come to the scene like that of Edison who, before inventing the light bulb, “discovered 1,000 ways of how not to create the light bulb.

Many quotes without any scientific rigor such as “never give up” or “winners never quit.” Many people have been successful by not giving up, but it is also true that analyzing the life and work of very successful people, many have been successful because they knew how to abandon one project and start another.

But HOW CAN WE KNOW WHEN WE HAVE TO CONTINUE INSISTING OR IT IS TIME TO GIVE UP AND LOOK FOR A NEW PROJECT? Unfortunately, it is not an easy decision, nor is there a formula that gives us a clear answer.


  • CLEAR OBJECTIVES: If the initial objectives of the project have become unrealistic or unattainable, it is time to rethink its viability. Evaluate whether it is possible to adjust the objectives or if it is necessary to abandon them completely.
  • LACK OF PROGRESS: If the project is stalling, despite your best efforts, it could be a sign that it’s time to let it go. Sometimes, persisting in something that is not moving forward can waste time and resources.
  • CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES: If circumstances change and the project no longer fits your current situation, it may be interesting to abandon it to focus on what is most relevant at that moment.
  • EXHAUSTION AND STRESS: Mental and physical health is essential. If the project is draining you and causing constant stress, it’s time to consider whether it’s worth continuing. Your well-being should be a priority.
  • COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS: Do a realistic analysis of the costs and benefits of the project. If the costs far outweigh the benefits, it’s probably time to quit.
  • CHANGE OF PASSION: If you have lost enthusiasm and passion for the project, it is difficult to maintain motivation. Sometimes, it’s better to invest your time and energy into something you’re truly passionate about.
  • EXTERNAL FEEDBACK: Listening to the opinions of colleagues, friends or advisors can provide you with an objective perspective. If many advise you to quit, consider their opinion.
  • BIGGER OPPORTUNITIES: If opportunities arise that could be more promising and aligned with your goals, it may be time to leave the current project behind.
  • THINK LONG TERM: Think about the long-term impact of abandoning or continuing the project. How will it affect you in the future? What will get you closer to your goals?

Knowing when to abandon a project is not an easy decision. Now you know some ideas that will help you in the decision process.

And remember what Paulo Coelho said “If you are brave to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”

Xavi Roca

I am Talentist, I help organizations, managers and professionals to achieve high performance through enhancing their leadership and personal brand. I am passionate about leadership, high performance team management and Personal Branding, and I have dedicated my professional career to helping companies and professionals develop and enhance their talents and strengths to achieve their maximum development and performance.

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