Quitting Can Be an Act of Bravery and Not of Cowardice

· April 10, 2017

Sometimes quitting is not an act of cowardice, but an act of bravery. Quitting doesn’t imply a lack of courage, but the complete opposite: bravery, prudence, emotional intelligence. In fact, in certain circumstances of life, the courage that is required to put an end to something is greater than the one necessary to keep on going with the story.

To stop offering resistance might be a good solution and, on occasions, the only way out we have. And no, it does not mean yielding under something or someone. Nor does it mean that we have run out of strength like the dictionary says. However, giving in when we face some adversity usually bring judgments from other people. Quitting is usually portrayed as a negative act that make us seem weak, if not cowards.

Cowardice and prudence are two different attitudes

Almost by inertia a lot of us tend to qualify, label and confuse attitudes that might explain the same behavior. Such as is the case of being a coward and being prudent. Either of these two attitudes could explain someone abandoning a project. Nevertheless, it would be easier to explain the abandonment due to cowardice. The cowardice of avoiding a cognitive dissonance that is upsetting us. Cognitive dissonance here means a lack of synchrony between what we do and what we think.

redheaded girl asleep

Practically every new situation, responsibility or change carries fear with it, be it minor or major, and we are all aware of that fear when we are there. However, there are people who go beyond that fear. They determine that continuing is a bad option for them, and that does not make them cowards. In fact, in many scenarios people are brave because continuing was maybe the simpler path. The complicated part was to do what nobody expected.

“He who is prudent is moderate; he who is moderate is constant. Also, he who is constant is imperturbable, and he who is imperturbable lives without sadness. Ultimately, he who lives without sadness is happy. Therefore, the prudent are happy”
-Seneca-


A coward is he who lets fear lead him, who does not want to take any risks. He who listens to his inner self and ignores it, who accepts unhappiness as a price to pay for comfort, etc. In contrast, a coward is not he who retreats, waits or gives up in a given moment of his life because he considers that it is an intelligent response for his well-being.

Quitting can sometimes be prudent. We would be thinking of the possible risks of continuing where we are and we would act accordingly so we would not suffer any more unnecessary damage. In fact, changing something when it is going wrong is an act of bravery.

The difference between giving up and “that’s enough”

It might be that change can only come about by giving up and deciding to take a different path. This happens because there is a thin line separating the act of quitting and recognizing it has been enough. If we have done everything we could and there is no result, it would be beneficial to desist and begin again.

“It follows the law of order that when you want to avoid an inconvenience, you incur another one. But prudence consists in knowing the nature of your inconveniences and accepting the least bad as something good.”
-Machiavelli-

The best used energy is the one we invest in cultivating the art of taking care of ourselves. Ourselves as well as taking care of the people we care about. The energy have is limited limits. For this reason, wasting your strength and energy in a pointless and unprofitable way is to deprive yourself and the ones you love of that energy.

“Never give in. Never, never, never, never. On nothing, great or small, large or petty. Never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
-Winston Churchill-