Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away (2022) by the professional poker player and “decision scientist” Annie Duke meditates on how you could become so wedded to some predetermined goals that you don’t reassess your ever-evolving values and priorities based on new information that you may unearth along the way.
Quitting isn’t bad, especially if you’re blindly heading toward a “fixed object goal” that’s perhaps no longer serving your values—even hurting you in some way you didn’t anticipate.
A Mental Model to Help You Cut Your Losses
Duke suggests instituting “kill criteria” in advance. Before a pursuit, ask yourself: what signals you could see in the future would tell you it’s time to quit or change course?
Before entering a marathon, for example, you could decide if the medical tent counsels that you’re hitting your physical limitations, you’d quit trying to push yourself and walk out.
In other words, every goal needs a resolute “unless” for every task, investment, and relationship. E.g., if you’re miserable at your job, you could give it three more months and pre-select some indicators that would tell you if things haven’t improved even after you’ve increased your efforts.
Idea for Impact: Know when to give up. Grit is great—but only for carrying on for hard things that are worthwhile. Beware of tunnel vision; don’t get so narrowly focused on a specific goal and overlook other opportunities or priorities.