A Skilled Quitter

One son excels at knowing when to hold and when to fold. He described a high-altitude hike and said, “I decided it wasn’t my day to die. The terrain was becoming treacherous, and I was running out of air.” He told his companions he was quitting. He would wait for them at that spot for the hike back. He later learned that the trail required technical climbing skills and special equipment, both of which he did not have. The leaders had not realized the hike’s difficulty.

Later, my friends were talking about quitting and I said, “My son is a good quitter.” They laughed until I explained that I meant he was skilled at knowing when to stop.

Quitting doesn’t necessarily mean failing or losing or weakness. It can mean recognizing what isn’t working and having the courage to set a new, better goal.

During his hike, my son understood he wasn’t acclimated to the altitude or skilled for the terrain and changed course for the better. He substituted staying alive for reaching a mountain peak.

Along the way, I learned that I and my friends usually didn’t quit at the optimal time.

Do you need a new, better goal?

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