Sometimes you have to quit something even though the outward signs may say that doing so is counter-intuitive. Let me illustrate:

Best-selling author Michael Crichton quit as he was on his way to a career at the top of his profession. When he gave up medicine, Crichton had already graduated from Harvard Medical School and done a postdoctorate fellowship study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, guaranteeing him a lucrative career as a doctor or as a researcher. He traded it for the unpredictable life of an author.

Crichton had no stomach for cutting people open, and he decided he didn’t relish the future a medical career would bring him, regardless of how successful he might become at it. So he quit. Crichton saw that just because he had already gotten into Harvard, already earned a fellowship – already made it through the Dip – he didn’t have to spend the rest of his life doing something he didn’t enjoy in order to preserve his pride.

He stopped cold turkey and started over. If he can quit, can you?

  • The Dip: A little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick) by Seth Godin [p. 65-66]

I find this story inspiring. This is Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame. The juxtaposition of a medical career over against a writing career is striking. What I love about Crichton’s story is that it goes against the grain of conventional criticism.

Seth Godin’s question, “If he can quit, can you?” is a good one. It challenges me to look inwardly and make sure that what I’m doing is really what I want to be doing and should be doing. I know that I don’t have the intelligence or nearly the options of a Michael Crichton but like him I can chose differently. I can make choices that are fitting to who I am and my character.

I’ve done this a hand full of times over the years and each time I made the big decision to quit and do something different my life has always improved.

One of the healthiest things we can do in life is find things we can quit. It cleanses the soul.