Winners Never Quit – Baloney!

Dan Miller —  January 30, 2012 — 12 Comments

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Winners never quit, quitters never win.”  Is that really true?  Does that mean that if you’re driving from Detroit to Miami and you suddenly realize you’re actually headed for Savannah you would simply continue on?  Or even speed up?  Or just “try harder?” Of course not – you would immediately correct your direction, even if it meant going back to Atlanta to get back on the right road.

Why is it that in jobs or businesses people often believe that if they just persist, somehow things will get better?  And that they need to be loyal and never show signs of “giving up?”

Here’s a question from Susan:
“I would like to know what to do when you are working so hard and everything seems to continue to fail. Do you change plans or what?”

Susan, quitting a job does not mean that you’re quitting your commitment to provide for your family.  Quitting a business does not mean that you are walking away from the thrill of controlling your time and income.  Quitting a ministry or non-profit organization does not mean that you’ve given up on your desire to change the world or help the less fortunate.

Your job, business or ministry is just one strategy to accomplish your bigger vision.  Your “purpose” or “calling” define the big goal.  If your job is clearly a dead end, it makes perfect sense to quit, take your skills to a better fit and release your ability to provide for your family.  If your business is failing, learn from the experience and start in a new direction.  I constantly have areas in my business and personal life that are on the bubble.  If they are not proven successful in a very specific period of time – they’re gone – I quit but keep moving on to success in other ways.

Here are my recommendations:

  • If your job provides nothing for you but a meager paycheck, plan to quit and be gone in the next 30 days.
  • If you have been running your business for one year and after expenses it’s only netting you $500 a month, quit and find a new venture.
  • If you started a non-profit ministry and after two years you find that you are spending 80% of your time on administrative work and have no real economic model for continuing, consider linking arms with an established organization.

Winners quit – they quit quickly and often.  Yes I know we hear that quote about nothing matters but persistence, but if you are a duck trying to climb a tree, all persistence will get you is web feet that are too sore to even swim well.  Have the maturity and guts to quit the ineffective things in your life.

While we’re at it, ask yourself if these well-known adages are always true:

  1. The customer is always right
  2. Everything happens for a reason
  3. Never judge a book by its cover
  4. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
  5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
  6. Better be safe than sorry
  7. Good fences make good neighbors
  8. You can’t have your cake and eat it too

Don’t let commonly accepted clichés misdirect you from the unique path you are on.  There are many exceptions to each of these time-honored clichés.

  • Alan Reeves

    I think we should all question our long standing beliefs to see if they are valid.  We were all taught certain things that were right and applicable when they were taught (or first learned) but with new technology or a new view point, those beliefs aren’t useable anymore. 

    We must be able to adapt and that often means failing quickly.  The more iterations we try, the better our product and our personal development become.  Besides that, it is often more effective to showcase what we are great at instead of shoring up the things we are not.  I would rather be great at one thing and bad at the rest than mediocre at everything. 

    Thanks for the great post Dan

    • Anonymous

      Alan – great point – find the one thing we are great at.  And that may require walking away from some we try.

  • Joel Boggess

    Hi Dan,

    What a refreshing way to revive a worn-out cliche.

    Most everyone want to make a difference with their work. As they go through the 48 Days process, they realize that for the “difference” to be truly worthwhile and meaningful, it also must make a difference for them.

    • Anonymous


      Looking inward helps us find our best way to “make a difference.”  Thanks for your comments.

  • Don Roulo

    I have my hand raised high…High, my name is Don and I AM A QUITTER!!  I love quitting things that stop me from doing what I need to do so I can have what I want to have and experience what I want to experience.  I certainly don’t have it all done and figured out, but I am taking steps and quitting things all the time-things that are negative for me and my family.

    For some strange reason I have the Dr. Pepper song stuck in my head right now…”I’m a quitter, she’s a quitter, he’s a quitter-wouldn’t you like to be a quitter too.”  I could not help myself!

    • Anonymous

      Don – I see that hand brother!  I seriously look for things to “quit” on an ongoing basis. Experience has taught me that by doing so I can spend time where I’m winning more consistently.  

  • kimanzi constable

    ” A man’s greatest glory doesn’t consist in never falling, but in rising everytime he falls. ”
    Nelson Mandela
    Everyone will fall at some point, we need a movement of people who are willing to get up.

  • Musinguzip

    Dan, I totally agree with you that certain quotes we’ve taken as the whole truth and nothing but the truth really have two sides to them and therefore we shouldn’t be bogged down with them as they’re in actual fact at times a hindrance to our progress! Thank you for enriching in me in my way of thinking!

  • Mary DeMuth

    What do you do in a shifting/crazy industry? The publishing metroplex has shifted as violently as worldviews moving from modernism to postmodernism. As an author, I find the instability exciting and frustrating. Finding ways to make income in a creative industry can be really frustrating.

    • Anonymous

      Mary – the means of publishing are shifting and changing but I think the messages  needed by readers have largely stayed the same.  So write from your heart – and then be ready to have fun with the delivery.

      • Mary DeMuth

        Amen and very true. Thanks.

  • Robert Kennedy III

    Great post and spin on things!! I wish I could get my parents to agree that quitting is ok :-). I’m way past that now but the truth is that we definitely need to know when to say when so that we can “persist” on stuff that is actually working.