The Difference Between Walking Away and Quitting



Seth Godin’s blog today was about the difference between commitment versus technique.
I agree 100% with the value of teaching commitment, but I also believe it is just as important to teach the value of knowing when to walk away from something you may have committed to.
Part of what it means to be a creative artist is to dive willingly into work that might not work. And the other part, the part that’s just as important, is to openly admit when you’ve gone the wrong direction, and eagerly walk away, even (especially) when it’s personal.
Making a commitment to something is hard, but walking away could be even harder. Walking away is essentially an admission of failure, whereas making a commitment creates only the possibility of failure. And who likes to admit failure, despite the many lessons that can be learned from failure?
But walking away is not the same as quitting, as giving up on your dream. Walking away shows that you’ve got the courage to admit that the path you had chosen to achieve your dream was not the right one. Walking away shows that you are willing to leave the safety of the familiar path and look for a new one in pursuit of your dream. Walking away is recognizing the role that sunk costs play in decision making, that it’s always about looking forward and keeping your eye on the best way to achieve your dream. Quitting means giving up the pursuit of what you were meant to do.
So yes, it’s important to teach the difference between commitment and technique, but it’s equally important to teach the difference between walking away and quitting.

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