There are two types of people in the world: people who stay and people who leave. Which are you?
If you’re a stayer, you go to a movie. Within the first 20 minutes, you realize the movie is a complete dud. But you decide to stay and see where things go. After all, you already paid for your movie ticket, your popcorn–you might as well get your money’s worth. So you double down.
If you’re a leaver, you go to the same miserable movie. But 20 minutes in, you say enough is enough. You lose the price of the movie ticket, but at least you’ve reclaimed the rest of your evening. You could probably talk to the manager and get your money back, but what a pain. That’s just not the way leavers roll.
The same applies to jobs and relationships. How long do you stay with an unpleasant job? Will things turn around in 6 months, a year? And then there’s your romantic relationship. If you leave now, does that make you a quitter? How long do you try to work things out before you decide the relationship is beyond repair?
It’s hard to know when a job or relationship has outlived its sell by date. But experience has taught me this: The decision you make is less important than making a decision. Commit to your decision and take actions that reinforce that choice. Stuck in a stagnant relationship? Stay if you’re going to stay, but find a couples counselor, carve out more quality time with your partner. Don’t like your job? Leave if you’re going to leave, but realize that impulsive “escaping” doesn’t usually pan out. Exit, but with a clear plan of action. Go back to school, take an aptitudes test, hire someone to polish your resume.
And by the way: Second guessing yourself is a complete waste of time. Be confident that, whether you make the “right” or “wrong” choice, you will learn from your experience. No chosen course of action can fail to teach you about yourself. You have to kick and claw and scratch to earn self-knowledge, but it’s a worthwhile struggle. True wisdom is gained by turning right or turning left–not by sitting in the middle of the road with both blinkers on.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.