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Leadership Thought #252 – Know When To Move On


I find that far too many people get stuck in patterns or hold on to situations that are no longer worth their time and investment.  Life is short.  Once you come to the conclusion that something isn’t working for you, transfer your energy into something different and move on.  I say this with the caveat that I don’t include marriage or parenthood in this point of view because by their very nature both require perseverance, sacrifice, and commitment.

Giving up on an idea isn’t failure.  It can be basic common sense.  Both time and resources are finite.  If you spend them on something that has little chance of working out, then for all intensive purposes you are wasting your efforts.  This doesn’t mean you give up on the idea of taking risks or pursuing long shots, but it does mean you do so carefully with your eyes wide open and a willingness to pull the plug if and when needed.

There is a joke I’ve heard about gambling that always resonated with me, “I lost $2 at the racetrack once and spent $2M trying to win it back.”  Just because you’ve already invested some money or time in something doesn’t mean you’re stuck and have to see it through.  Sometimes it’s best to take your losses early and go home.   We are all individuals and as such have different personal capacity to absorb risk and manage failure.  However, for each us, there does come a point of diminishing returns.  Not all of our time needs to be spent on productive activity, but it’s critical that we are aware of the fact when our investments/efforts become non-productive.

I’ve always believed the overall curve of any individual’s life should be upward sloping.  This doesn’t mean there won’t be peaks and troughs along the way or periods of time where you feel you’ve reached a plateau.  When you are stuck you should be consciously striving to become unstuck not seeking out more glue.  When faced with adversity, do your best to take positive steps to help you get back on track.  Don’t get mired in the past but embrace the present and pursue the future with a vigor worthy of your time and energy.   Know when to move on and you will have less pain, frustration and disappointment in your life.

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