Saturday, May 8, 2010

When to give up.

Boy that's a tough one. You worked so hard. Your spirit and your heart were in it. You even threw away logic to make decisions that were emotional, and things didn't work out. What to do? As I often explain about computer problems, the only sane thing to do is quit. Quit trying to solve your problem. Because the way you're working at it, just isn't working. No shame. No remorse. You did your best. You really did. Sometimes the problem just doesn't want to be solved, not in your way anyway. So the only sane thing to do is give up. In an insane world, only the sane man/woman is insane. Realize that, and you're on a much better path already.

Last year, I did something that defied logic. Absolutely none of the business parameters made sense. But there was love involved, and a great deal of it. Smart? Not. But emotion is as rational decision as any when business metrics don't add up properly. And the love, just a little icing on the cake
(Do make sure you get a lot of it though. The value of prositutes goes up exponentially when you figure the lack of excess pain they cause you. Only hurts the wallet, and makes everything else fairly happy - except your soul.)

Seth Godin did a wonderful post recently called,
"Are you rational?" And it goes like this:

"A rational decision is based on testing and data and an understanding of the mechanics underneath the system you're working on. The more you know, the better you decide. An irrational decision is based on gut instincts, conviction and faith."

give up, I quit, Take this job and shove it, eat me, Love, logic, Emotional,  rational, irrational, Seth Godin,  dang hai yenNot surprisingly, Seth comes out of the side of supporting ones gut feelings. On hope. And the trick there, is not to be afraid again, once it doesn't work out well. How do you get back on that horse, or that 3m diving board, as I learned it, once you've fucked up completely? I had a diving accident once that landed me in six weeks of physical therapy once because I attempted a 2 1/2 flip with a half twist and ended up seeing the sky instead of water out of the tuck and knew I was landing on hard water, flat on my back. Oops.

But I came back. And a bit better, and smarter after that. You might even get me to try that flip again. It's all about timing and not about age at all. But mostly it's about doing it. Once you stop trying, you stop giving yourself the chance to win. I know someone who has that problem right now. She didn't quit me. She quit the concept. The idea. The tactile expression of the idea. She'll sort that out eventually. Maybe not with me. And certainly not today.

And me? Sure, I'm giving up on one particular task, but not the concept in general. And why? Because I know the idea is not faulty. Maybe the execution, or the target was incorrect, but the basic idea is still sound. Millions upon millions guarantee it. It's called love.

So giving up is ok. If it's for a greater goal. If it's basically, for not giving up. That's when it's time to give up. When the circumstances around you, don't support the strength that one needs to not give up - to fly so much higher on another day.

Turn that computer off - but never the feeling. The feeling that the irrational is the exact correct thing to do when all rational means have exhausted themselves.


  1. Sometimes if you don't quit, you get fired. Which is karma's way of nudging you to do what needs to be done.


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