When is quitting acceptable

A moment of clear self doubt?

What am I doing this for? I mean I know why I started, but why am I continuing now I’ve learnt what I wanted to learn? Surely its time to stop, draw a metaphorical line under it, and start something else. Something softer, easier, less painful and will also keep me fit. Something? Anything?

I think people quit things for one main good reason – they’re terrible at it. But for those that are average or good or even great or incredible, the reasons for stopping become very thin to the point of transparency. Is it some kind of faux pas to quit for no good reason? Is ‘being bored’ or ‘fed up’ not good enough? I guess once the motivation has left someone, all the other drivers crumble around them.

These crucial drivers to continue and achieve things are: Inspiration, Enthusiasm, Motivation, Challenge & Reward.

In flipping (for me) I’d say these equal out to be:

  • Inspiration – watching: peers /  videos
  • Enthusiasm – a sense of urgency to learn / ease of entry (free / local facilities)
  • Motivation – regular training, gym visits with friends
  • Challenge – eg: backflip
  • Reward – praise from Peers / personal satisfaction

Without enough of each, we fail. Either at the first hurdle: Inspiration, or the last one: Reward.

We can set ourselves any challenge we like, literally any challenge, no matter how impossible it may seem. Whether we reach the reward for that challenge is down to maintaining that initial Inspiration, continued enthusiasm and regular Motivation through training. If we keep doing the first 3, for as long as it takes, the challenge will eventually be met. (within reason obviously)

How exactly we sustain the inspiration, enthusiasm and motivation is slightly trickier to figure out. The reason its so hard to keep hold of these things is because they are so subtle and delicately balanced within our psychies.

If I look at Inspiration, that can come from so many sources; friends are doing it, saw something cool on the Internet, I’m unfit and need to do something, the girls love it, I want to look cool etc.  Inspiration is clearly one of the easiest to identify.

Enthusiasm is the next step from initial Inspiration. What takes us to the next level, from wanting to sit on our arses and say ‘wow’ at everyone else, to getting up and doing something for ourselves. Don’t confuse enthusiasm with motivation though. Motivation is something much more intense.

Enthusiasm is what keeps you interested for long enough to give something a go until you decide if you’re going to keep doing it. This could be short lived if you realise a physical injury prevents you from continuing, or if your fear of doing something apparently can’t be overcome. Enthusiasm is like coasting down a hill on a bike, enjoying the ride, before realising you’ve got a bloody big hill to climb back up again, if you really want to get anywhere.

Motivation is the next: Its serious. Motivation arrives when we realise that hard work, dedication and commitment is required, to reach our goals, without it, we’re just mucking about. Motivation is a driving force to keep us working towards meeting the Challenge and gaining the Reward. Motivation is also a critical stage, as things get hard, fun may disappear, physical obstacles may get in our way (distances, costs etc).

But its not all negative with Motivation, the vital way of keeping motivated is having achievable targets, we breakdown the steps needed to reach the challenge and each time we reach them, we get a mini reward and a knowing that we’re ever closer to the prize of achieving something initially deemed ‘impossible’. This is the stage where the ‘good’ (people) become great and the ‘bad’ back the hell out of there. 

As I said before, because so many elements can affect our Inspiration, Enthusiasm and Motivation, it only takes one or two of those main catalysts to fizzle out, and we start questioning why we’re doing that activity. Its acceptable to give up in the early stages of Inspiration and Enthusiasm, but not so easy in the Motivation stage.

Packing in at this point is crazy, bizarre and pathetic depending who you speak to.

But I have to admit now… what the hell am I doing this for and when should I stop? Do I wait until I’ve damaged all my limbs? (i’m in the process of doing that already) Am I waiting until I’ve found enough praise and adoration to feel complete with my life and hobby? No, I’m not interested in the slightest about that.

I guess I’m just thinking about ‘when is stopping acceptable?’.


Filed under acrobat, breakdancing, Flips, free running, Gymnastics, Life, Martial Arts, parkour, skateboarding, training, trampoline, Tricking

4 responses to “When is quitting acceptable

  1. Nice article.

    I stopped playing rugby after 12 years having decided that my body was getting too old and weak and I didn’t want to increase my risk of being a cripple at 50. It also gave me a challenge in concentrating on myself as someone other than a rugby player. I wanted to appreciate myself even I wasn’t particularly good at other sports simply because I felt too much of my self-esteem was wrapped up in being a good rugby player. And it was really hard beginning other sports and activities and finding myself as one of the weakest rather than one of the strongest.

    Unfortunately, despite trying other activities to compensate, I ended up dusting off my boots a year later… but I’m sure the experience was character building. ;o)

    Essentially I play rugby for two reasons. 1. I’m good at it and 2. I love it.

  2. now I’m thinking about it… often its the way people quit which causes the trouble. If someone at the top of their game suddenly says ‘byebye’.. people freak out. Tho if someone gradually fades out of the scene, not much is said. Cheers for your thoughts :)

  3. I get this feelign everytime i do my ankle in, i always think well it’s gonna take ages for me to learn my tricks again and regain my confidenc on my board and in the process i coudl jsut do my ankle in again(worst nightmare).
    But i realise i only do it for fun and i shoudln’t be so insecure about how good iam on a board, at the end of day it’s jsut baout having fun.

  4. I never feel like quiting when I get injured skating. I know I can just chill for a bit, get fit and skate again later.

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