“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
– Vince Lombardi
Know when to quit
Quitting isn’t dishonorable or something to be ashamed of. I’ve quit nearly half of all the projects that I’ve ever started. Typically, I only try to work on projects where I would be in the top 25% of everyone in that field. Because of this I’ve given up on a lot of things that I simply didn’t have the aptitude for. For a while I had considered switching college majors and becoming a programmer. I was better at writing articles than I was at writing code, rather than struggling with my mediocre programing skill set I found a way to monetize what I was already good at.
Getting into the top 25% of something you are passionate about is easy.
I love lifting. The gym is like my second home and I spend so much time there that I was actually given a special key so that I can workout whenever I want. Holidays, the dead of night, I’ll go whenever. While I’ll never be a professional bodybuilder I have made huge gains. I went from being under 150 pounds to scrapping into 180 territory in just a year.
While I was never fat or anything like that, I was really small. When you’re six feet tall and 148 pounds you look scrawny. After a year of eating right, learning how to lift, and doing some heavy squats I filled out more. Although I still have a long way to go, I’m in better shape than most of the dudes that I see walking around. Serious lifting isn’t very popular in my neck of the woods and going out in a tight V-neck tends to draw attention.
Thanks to the obesity epidemic and that fact that “lifting is for queers,” as many manly men will tell you, I’m more muscular and more defined than a lot of other guys. Even though I won’t be starring in any action movies anytime soon, my confidence has gotten a nice bump. I’m also hopping to add some more muscle this year and build a stronger back.
How I became a successful freelancer in two weeks.
I love sales. Ever since I was a kid, when I’d have to sell popcorn and Christmas decorations for fundraiser, I’ve enjoyed selling things to people. When I have to get serious and whip up an argument about something I usually end up victorious. In high school I was a state finalist for impromptu speaking. In college I single handily won a class debate over the use of steroids. While I usually speak in a very lazy manner and often slur my words, when I get passionate about something I can spit fire.
When I started working on oDesk I was planning on quitting. Third world sweatshops could underbid me and seemed to be stealing of the work. Things looked grim. Rather than giving up I decided to fight on a new platform. If I couldn’t beat my enemies on their price, I could destroy them with my quality. A Timex and a Rolex have a lot of the same features. They both keep time, each one is water resistant, and both track the date. The difference is in the experience. Wearing a Timex Sub makes you some random guy. Donning a Rolex Sub turns you into a classy and sophisticated man about town.
Instead of breaking my back for table scraps I branded myself as an exclusive content writer. My hourly rate is set higher than most people skilled laborers would make. However, thanks to a limited time offer and temporary lull in my work, I’m able to offer clients my services at a drastically lower price than what I advertise. The customer gets the work they deserve and I’m able to make a living.
Changing my style earned me more customers than I would have ever imagined. I went from being a generic writer to a professional. While I quit fighting third world workers for clients, my decision paid off. Ten thousand hours of writing penny a word posts wouldn’t have allowed me to advance. There was no reason to keep trying.
Arnold Schwarzenegger tried a lot of different sports before he settled on bodybuilding. He swam, played soccer, and did a few other activities. While he wasn’t bad at any of them, he didn’t excel either. Bodybuilding gave him the greatest returns for his effort.
Hugh Hefner worked as a copywriter for Esquire. Hefner did so well at his job that the company fired him after he asked for a five dollar raise. Instead of groveling for his job back or looking for more menial work, he launched Playboy. By quitting what wasn’t working out anyway, Hefner was able to become far more successful than he ever would have been otherwise.
When you find yourself facing a brick wall it’s important to consider what is on the other side. Using your face to smash through cement and mortar doesn’t make you a tough guy if the only thing waiting for you on the other side is a pat on the head. There’s nothing noble about struggling to do something that will never pay off anyway.