Taking Steps Toward Leadership–When do you give up?

When do YOU give up?

When have you given up on something or someone?  I have 1/2-knitted sweaters in my stash.  I have unwritten books in my head.  I have people I haven’t talked to about my finance business.  I have seminars and mastermind groups I haven’t set up yet.  Have I given up?  No.  I have procrastinated, but I fully intend to finish each and every project I’ve started, including putting the Christmas tree away (Now that we’ve celebrated Easter…)  I have students I’ve written off.  I have acquaintances that I do not intend to talk to any more.  I have old “friends” from school that I hope to never see again.  I will never go back for another High School reunion.  At what point do you decide that the effort to finish is more than the perceived reward?  At what point do you examine the amount of time it takes to maintain a relationship that doesn’t do either one of you any good and decide to call it quits?  When have you looked back and said, “I never should have made that commitment?”

The books I haven’t written, the sweaters I have left unfinished, the possible contacts for my financial business and the seminars and mastermind groups are things I have committed to.  The students I’ve written off, on the other hand, were the ones that though I had committed my best efforts and my time and travel were not committed to the learning process.  They took lessons because they liked the weekly meetings with me, but did not put any effort into practicing and getting better.  The acquaintances are those who are not open to dialog and exchange of information, those that like to hear themselves talk and tend to repeat themselves enough that they have memorized responses to questions.  They do not connect and do not listen.  My efforts at connection are rebuffed.  “Yes, I’m in fast food.”  I used to work in fast food too!  “So you couldn’t possibly understand what I’m going through.”  Why not?  “I have a crew that doesn’t show up, a manager that is hopeless and there’s no way out for me.”  I had exactly the same situation 15 years ago.  I got out.  “Yes, I’m sure you did, but it wasn’t as bad as mine.  I had 2 people not show up yesterday!”  I had 1/2 of my crew not show up due to flu, and once only 1/3 showed up due to a snow storm!  “So You couldn’t possibly understand the stress I’m under.”  (See how he completely has ignored what I’m saying?)  So explain it to me so I can understand.  “Nope, you couldn’t possibly get this.  You’ve never had this kind of stress on you.  Everything comes easy for you.”  ???!  “Don’t you protest.  You just walk into a room and everything goes right.  You never have to work hard to overcome anything.  Obstacles just fly out of your way.”  ??????????!!!!!!!!!  (Now I am getting mad.)  You know, you’re right.  I couldn’t understand what you’re going through.  *what I’m thinking is that No, I couldn’t understand what’s going through your head…it’s so empty and windy in there!*  I go to my mental check list and put his name on the list of people I do not want to engage in conversation anymore.  Then I smile and walk away.  Later, I use the conversation in a blog.

The “friends” from school that could only see that I was not the same as they were and therefore was inferior were not my friends.  They considered me a friend because I stood there and took their mental and verbal abuse when they wanted to lash out.  I have been to 1 high school reunion.  One woman came up to me to re-introduce herself as my best friend from high school because I didn’t recognize her!  We hugged and got caught up.  Then she fell back into her old habit of teasing and putting me down, and insulting me around the other people at the reunion.  I looked at her with a different perception at that point, and started slinging insults and comebacks with scalpel-like precision, much to her surprise.  I think I even drew emotional blood.  I didn’t want to expend the effort to rebuild a relationship with any of the people that had used me as a target in high school, and those were precisely the people that go to high school reunions.  They were not committed to making a friendly relationship with me work back then, and they just assume nothing has changed and they continued their past behavior in the present.  So as you can see, I withdrew my commitment from people who did not reciprocate my commitment.  I gave up on them.

Activities I have given up on:  water skiing, running, wall climbing, pinochle, video solitaire and blendoku.  All the physical ones I have given up on due to physical barriers that I don’t wish to overcome.  Video solitaire and blendoku I don’t play because I hate playing games that make it impossible for me to win.  I don’t discuss financial issues with certain people who already “know” it all.  Those people are the ones with no training, no certifications, and no practical experience that believe that the stock market it a big roulette table and the best thing to invest in is gold, and then patronize me as if I was a naif.  I also will not teach music lessons to those who try to tell me what it is that they should be studying to reach professional level.  They do not know how to listen to music, or what to listen for, and argue with me about methods.  They don’t learn the exercises I teach them and they don’t practice the way I teach them so I am spending my time instead of investing my time with them.  I didn’t used to do that.  I kept working with people because I believed that one day there’d be a break through.  It was an opportunity cost.  I was teaching people that didn’t want to learn and in effect was denying someone that did want to learn but couldn’t take lessons because my time was filled with doofusses.

So when do YOU quit?  Are you committing yourself to a project or a person?  Is the project worth the effort?  Does the person reciprocate your commitment?  If you are not willing to make a commitment, don’t start!  Winners never quit, and quitters never win.  But those who make commitments and keep them go a very very long way.

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