Learn to Rest, Not Quit

When things get stressful, it's tempting to throw your hands up in the air and be done with it. But many times it's important to learn to rest, not quit. Here's why...

Learn to Rest Not Quit

A while ago I heard the quote "Learn to rest not quit."

It struck me as a significant quote, because we can all certainly relate to wanting to give up so badly, even if we've already come a long way.

We get tired, we get frustrated. The proverbial last straw slowly falls to our backs and we suddenly feel like giving up, giving in. 

In that moment, it feels like quitting is the best possible solution. Wouldn't life be so much better if I quit?

No, not necessarily. Sometimes when you come to a stage in life where you feel like quitting, what you really need is a rest. 

1. Quitting doesn't always make things easier

The most common reason why people quit something they shouldn't have is because they think it will all be smooth sailing thereafter.

This is because we're often clouded by the frustration of a particular moment that we don't look ahead to the future.

Sure, quitting might solve your problems for now, but may it create new ones?


What will those new problems even look like?

You might discover that quitting would actually create problems that are less manageable than the ones you have now. The grass on the other side always looks greener, but grass doesn't get green without work on someone's part.

So you have to really ask yourself - has the situation truly and honestly given up on me, or am I just giving up on a bit of hard work?

There have been points in my journey of working online where I felt like quitting, but giving myself time to think things through has opened my eyes to interesting things. 

When all is calculated, at certain points I've come to realise that quitting doesn't always make things easier. It's better to get to the root of a problem than to seek a seemingly-simple relief that you'll regret later.

2. Quitting is a commitment, resting is not

Another reason why I'm such an advocate of learning to rest, not quit, is because resting is just like quitting - without the commitment. Yes, it's a chance to refresh and take a break, without being drastic and dangerous.

Take a rest. Have a break (and a kit kat - or whatever they say).

Give yourself time to experience what quitting feels like. Did it solve all the problems?

 Not every decision to quit is reversible, but resting is a wise choice that gives you the time and space to meditate on a decision. It also provides some release from anxiety while you figure out a better way to move forward. Many successful people have gone through periods of rest which they used to re-brand and come back bigger and better than ever. 

Don't quit something that only needed a rest. You'll never know what could have become...

3. Every level that you don't quit makes you stronger

Learning to rest instead of quitting helps you learn the difference between what is possible and what is impossible.

Whenever you rashly quit a project, you instantly mark it as impossible. Resting gives you an advantage - you cleverly schedule a break before making a final decision. 

When you're rested and rejuvenated, you find that you're quite able to carry on; that it would be too sad to let all your hard work go.

There's the saying that if you want to eat an elephant, it's got to be one bite at a time. 

Choosing to rest rather than quit is the way to eat your elephant one bite at a time. Do what you can now, and whenever it feels just too much, give yourself a break. 

Having regular breaks is a more successful approach than trying to gulp everything down and then realising you can't. The way I think of it, the resting process tends to have a few different stages: 

Here's how it goes:

  • First you drop everything and keep all your 'worried work concerns' as far away as possible. The most restful part of the resting process. This could take a while, and that's OK. 
  • As you start to recover from the feeling of being overwhelmed, you start to enter the processing and planning phases.
  • You take some time to process the whirlwind that your life has been up to this point; then you plan ways to improve the way things will work going forward.

This all happens before you physically get back to work.

You see, even rest can be quite productive - in fact it's necessary if you want to be productive. All these stages of resting work together to empower you to take the next bite.

But when you quit, what happens?


You've quit. There's nothing to go back to, to build on.

When you learn to rest, not quit, it helps prepare you for the overwhelming situations that come up every now and then. When the gradual buildup of chaos and uncertainty reaches a climax. 

It's important to say this - for some projects, after resting you will find that it is time to quit. But resting gives you a sensible buffer space. Resting gives you a chance to figure it out and cool off from the stress and heat.

Learn to rest not quit.

And at the very least, don't plan to quit without making a plan to rest first. 

Remind yourself of this everyday.

Have you learned to rest, not quit? Comment below!

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