Hamlet may have dealt with the more existential questions like “To be or not to be”. But in today’s fast paced world of frequent change, the impatient and the restless often encounter the very real dilemma of whether it is worth continuing with the current path or is it time to throw in the towel.
In financial stock market decisions, the concept of ‘Stop Loss’ determines the figure at which one has pre-decided to withdraw from a worsening situation. One has quantified the risk one is willing to bear and has set the price at which it is better to incur a small loss, instead of staying put and incurring a greater loss over time.
However, in the world of relationships, entrepreneurial ventures, visionary projects and so many other areas – this decision is not so cut and dried. How does one decide if it’s in the best interest of all concerned to quit? What if you feel that enough time and efforts have been put in, but it’s clearly not working? How can one be sure that more patience, determination and effort will not turn the situation around?
We have advice along the lines of Winston Churchill – “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” And on the other hand, it is equally true that there are times when it is time to smell the coffee, face the fact that things are just not working out and choose to walk away.
In the midst of such confusion, a worthwhile question that can help you choose the way forward is: ‘Am I continuing to stay in this situation more out of love or out of fear?’
The question is simple enough, but one needs to be conscious and honest in the response. In most cases, there will be a ‘push factor’ and a ‘pull factor’ contributing to the predicament. The ‘push factor’ includes all the drivers that make you want you to avoid something or run away from discomfort. It may come from a fear of change, a fear of loneliness, a fear of failure and so on. This is the ‘fear’ factor. On the other hand, the ‘pull factor’ includes the dream, the aspiration, the calm certainty that this is what you feel drawn towards and this is the vision you want to actualize. This is the ‘love’ that keeps you going.
When the primary driver is fear based – we feel anxious, hurried, desperate and so on. When the primary motivation is love – there can still be moments of exhaustion, confusion or even despair. And yet, if you check carefully in the body and give yourself a short respite – the feeling is clear. The knowing is in the body and at the back of the mind, that you are not clinging on because you are afraid to let go – but because this is the dream that makes you come alive.
Spend some time reflecting on honestly examining the emotional drivers that are at play. Once you acknowledge your prime motivating factor – the optimal decision is clear. You won’t be clinging on due to fears or insecurities, nor quitting due to a lack of patience or resilience. You can take the steps necessary to build the courage and ability to quit – cleanly and completely, or to continue – with renewed enthusiasm and commitment.
May we all have the clarity and strength to make and implement the highest choices.