Creative Strategy
May 18, 2021

The best time to quit is before you start.

Open Reference

"Never quit" and 'never give in" are common refrains of the strong. But sometimes, never starting is the best way to avoid quitting.

This morning as my walk began in the small hours, the black sky had only a hint of the morning light, I could still see the stars - making out with ease the big dipper (Ursa Major) and Cassiopeia (the big W), my mind was running on an idea I let go of years ago.

It returned to me a few days ago with a better name and infused with more joy. I could see all its promise, but I know all the effort it takes to make.

Many times I have taken an idea and start to build immediately. My love for the building process would lead me to start too soon - which sounds odd - but there is a space when an idea should pause. This is the space of not starting.

In our world of digital tech, light manufacturing, and on-demand everything, the low barrier to entry is a tempting gate. The problem is no matter how easy something appears to be; it always takes your most valuable resource - time.

Guidelines for Quitting:
There are some guidelines I've captured that help me when I see a shining idea object; these rules go against the culture of "never quit."

1. The best time to quit is before you start.
2. If you start, have waypoints to assess if you should continue.
3. If you start, release to people as fast as possible.
4. If you start, don't quit in what Seth Godin calls "the dip".
5. Some things you never quit - gifts you carry from project to project, company to company - know what these are and bring them with you.
6. Never give up what you can not quit.

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