Time to Quit? Deciding When to Release

Time to Quit? Deciding When to Release

Dennis Bradford

389 Posts



Is it possible to know when it’s time to quit?

No – for a familiar reason:  Since the future is both unknown and unknowable, future consequences of present actions or inactions are also unknown and unknowable.

However familiar, that’s a point that even many philosophers fail to appreciate.

This of it this way:  there can be no evidence whatsoever of the future.

Why?  Because it’s impossible to apprehend the future.  Apprehensions are always only now, in the present moment.

We may not like that, but fighting reality is always futile.

Although it may seem a weak one, here’s my only suggestion about this:

“Listen” to your gut

For example, I played hockey for many years in the Rochester Metro Hockey League.  It was a full-contact league for men. I didn’t fully realize at the time how fortunate I was to be able to play in it.

Towards the end of my amateur career, because the injury rate was too high the league changed from a hockey league to a hitless hockey league.  A hitless hockey league outlaws deliberate body checking.  Players still sometimes collide, but such collisions are supposed to be accidental.

(When I first joined that league, it used NHL rules.  Each team, for example, had at least one [unofficial] enforcer.  Soon thereafter it went to AHAUS rules, which greatly diminished fighting.  [I’d occasionally tell my students that I was quite sure I’d been in more fights than all their other professors combined.  What I didn’t mention is that they were nearly all hockey fights.]  Eventually it went to hitless hockey.)

Hitless hockey is girls hockey.  It’s a good game, but it’s not hockey.

(To see the difference sometime, watch an Olympic hockey game played by men and an Olympic hockey game played by women.)

I almost quit (“retired”) when that league, which I’d played in for so many years that my father would sometimes refer to me as the world’s oldest living hockey player, became a hitless hockey league.  As a defensive defenseman my best skill was always violence or the threat of violence, in other words, body checking or the threat of body checking.  Furthermore, it’s not like I had a lot of other high level hockey skills to fall back upon.  Well, I didn’t quit then.  I didn’t feel ready.

I played several seasons of hitless hockey.  Then, one time in the locker room between the second and third periods of a game while the Zamboni was cleaning the ice, I “knew” it was time.  I simply stayed in the locker room while my teammates returned to the ice for the final period.  I dressed, locked the room behind me, and left.

I’ve never laced on skates since then.  It’s been about 25 years.

Mostly to ensure that there were no hard feelings, I did go to the banquet at the end of that season.  We enjoyed ourselves, as we always did at those banquets.  Nobody asked me to return for the next season.

It was a good decision.  Though I do sometimes miss the game, I’ve never regretted my decision to quit playing it when I did.

The game was very good to me and I’m grateful to have been able to enjoy it for many years.

Recently, I decided not to write any more books.  Partly because I’m an excellent thinker (i.e., fundamental and clear) and have read a lot of both philosophy and literature, I write prose well at least in the sense that I write clearly and relatively rapidly.  I’m a much better author than I ever was a hockey player.  There’s 28 books and hundreds of posts and articles that demonstrate that.

Still, it’s a decision that also feels right.  There are more important tasks in life than writing books – or publishing them or marketing them or even reading them.  It’s time to move on.

Gut decisions

We think of neurons as brain cells.  Our brains are in our heads.  Interestingly, though, we have about as many neurons in our guts as dogs or cats have in their heads.  Perhaps, then, there’s a physiological basis to making decisions with our guts instead of our brains.

Gut decisions are not emotional decisions.  Emotions ultimately come from ego delusion (see my EMOTIONAL FACELIFT), which is centered in our thoughts that probably correlate with brain states.  It’s possible that gut decisions are more primitive than emotional decisions.

Are you wondering whether or not it’s time to quit?

If you just think about it, it can be an agonizing decision with respect to something that you’ve enjoyed for years (including a marriage or a job).

On the one hand, you value perseverance.  On the other hand, you realize that perseverance can turn into foolish stubbornness.

The truth is there’s no way to tell. 

I say:  drop the agonizing.  Go with your gut.


2 thoughts on “Time to Quit? Deciding When to Release

  1. David Pascale

    This is a topic I’ve thought about for a long time. When do you quit? When do you stick it out? I couldn’t agree more with the advice in this post.

    29/03/2017 at 11:18 am
  2. sharon

    very interesting post that everyone can relate too..good example of a gut feeling that you are driven to act on immediately..we all have had gut feelings we don’t listen to..as stated we don’t know the future..good thought with question that gut feelings may be more of a primitive nature…

    30/03/2017 at 8:48 am

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