If You Feel Like Quitting

Darsh-Header2-3.6Did you ever just put down the barbell and go home? Stop running on a trail and walk off? Pull yourself out of the pool mid-lap and grab a towel?

Probably not, right? Or, if you did, that time still sticks in your mind, still gnaws at you, still makes you unhappy.

Why? Because none of us likes to quit. Even when we do quit something, there’s a part of us that (no matter how deserved our quitting that particular thing is) hates it. Most of us despise quitting. It’s an admission of defeat, of weakness, of not being good enough.

Now, I’m not here to tell you that it’s okay to quit (although in some cases it is, but that’s your decision, not mine), but I am here to remind you of one thing: you are far stronger than you realize. You’re better than you know. You’re not a loser.

How do I know that? You’re here, reading. Losers aren’t out there trying to better themselves. Losers aren’t beating themselves up over quitting something. Losers aren’t figuring out how to get farther or faster or better for the next attempt. Losers aren’t still shooting.

But you are.

When I was four, my dad hung a basketball hoop on the side of our garage. I went out there every afternoon and tried to throw the ball through the hoop. When you’re three feet tall, shooting at a 9′ hoop is difficult. (He made it a foot lower on purpose, so I had a chance. It also made our driveway the preferred place for nighttime games by neighborhood boys because dunking was a greater possibility.) But here’s what happened to four-year-old me: I shot and shot and shot, tallying my makes on a piece of paper and ignoring all those misses. Why? Because even at that age, I knew that getting to 100 shots made was the important part, not the hundreds of misses. The misses just came with the territory.
And that’s what I want you to do with your life. Fix your gaze on the rim. Visualize your shot going through the net. Shoot. Follow through. And then count the makes, not the misses.

Think about this: Kobe Bryant sits currently at the #3 position for most points scored in the NBA, but he also leads the NBA for most missed shots ever. (He’s missed over 13,000 shots already, in over 24,000 attempts.) But one stat is important — shots made — and the other stat is just trivia. Why? Because you have to shoot the ball in order to score. No points are made with the ball on your hip. No points are made by dribbling. No points are made by playing safe, by not risking, by not attacking the rim. Plain and simple: winners shoot the ball. Winners also show up at the race, at the workout, at the pool. Winners show up and they stay.

So, the next time you’re feeling tired and you want to quit — don’t. You know what feels better than rest? Winning. You know what feels better than licking your wounds? The satisfaction of staying the course. You know what feels better than pity? Victory, however you measure it.