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STOP! Knowing When to Quit

Written by Vicki Hinze

On July 9, 2012



A few days ago, I had a very long to-do list.   Keeping in mind that that day was our wedding anniversary and Hubby and I had plans, I knew there was but one way to get things done—get up early and tackle those items.


So I rolled out of bed at 3:15 AM, got a cup of coffee and got busy.  The first couple items went off smoothly, and I admit, I got a lot of satisfaction from ticking those items off the list before the sun came up.


But with dawn came challenges.  And suddenly, I’d do the work, get it ready, and then—wham!—challenge.  Whether it was uploading, or the coding getting corrupted with odd little marks, or something just falling apart that left me with a mess, it happened.


And then it happened again and again.  And then it was happening on everything I touched.  I’d have the work, I’d have it saved, but I failed to finish a thing because of glitches.  Some were mine.  Some were others.  Net impact:  no more ticks on the list.


It’s hard not to get frustrated, and I’m a tad persistent (some say stubborn), so I gave myself a little lecture to keep a positive attitude and persist.  Brick wall.  Wrong turn.  Two steps forward, one back.  Two steps back and one forward.  What a mess.  Absolutely NOTHING was working right.


So no list ticks, nothing finished, nothing working right.  Mmm, I thought.  Time to pull back and take an objective look.


Well, the bottom line was something went berserk in every project—and no, it wasn’t because I was half-asleep.  I often get up at 3 AM to accommodate my schedule.  I felt fine.  But nothing worked fine.  I took a little break and listened to the birds, watched the squirrels play in the trees.  Then I went back to the office to try again.


Things got worse.  Computer was fine but the network developed schizophrenia and wigged out.  I worked on it and finally called tech support—always my last resort effort—where I was told that due to weather (the floods) they were experiencing a heavy inflow of calls.  Approximate wait time twenty minutes.  Okay, a license to play.  I pick up the house phone to call a friend and there’s no dial tone.  All my phones are as dead as dead gets.   I report it and repairman schedules for the next morning.


That was the one.  The last proverbial straw.  I said, “All righty, then.  I’m obviously not supposed to be doing this stuff today so that’s it.  I quit—didn’t even close my journal or turn the to-do list upside down.  I just left it.  I thought, I’m going to walk away from all this, invite Hubby to lunch and find myself a happy frame of mind.


So I did.  Hubby said yes.  We went out to lunch at one of our favored places on the water.  We’re looking out at the boats and relaxing and I’m mellowing out, when at the next table, a waiter dumps a tray of drinks on three diners.  They’d come in by boat and the guy who got most wet was already in a t-shirt and swimsuit, so it wasn’t an awfully big deal.  Everyone in the dining room—a couple dozen people—started laughing.  Not at the man who’d dropped the drinks but at the situation.  We’ve all had bad hair days—I’d sure had one of those mornings.


So the waiter returns with a fresh tray of drinks for the trio and, being cautious, he decides to set the tray down on an empty table and then transfer the drinks—except his wrist bent and that table got a bath.  The poor guy was mortified, the diners roared, and everyone shared comments to make the waiter feel better.  We all have days like that.


Lesson:  laughter was great medicine for sweetening a sour attitude.  Others understand because they too experience these challenges.


I don’t know why there was a barrage of stuff like this that day, but it seemed everyone I talked to had had “one of those days.”  The good news is, we get through them.  They pass.  If we can engage our senses of humor, the trudging to the other side of these challenges is a whole lot more pleasant.


Because the following is just true:


The good news is you can choose when to quit and which you eat.













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