In May 1982 English punk rock band The Clash released the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time single “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. It is the perfect title for a common conundrum when building something… anything new: After experiencing the initial (and unavoidable) setbacks, do you continue pushing and persevere, or do you call it quits and walk away?
Of course there is no hard-and-fast answer.
Circumstances, people, the environment, and a million other things are different for each one of us. And the history books are full of people who either persevered and were enormously successful as well as those who kept beating the proverbial dead horse.
But the one thing I observe over and over again is that, on average, most of us tend to throw in the towel too fast. We don’t give it the time it takes to mature. We aren’t investing the energy, practice, and time for things to play out. Stuff just takes time and behind every overnight success story is someone who worked really, really hard.
The next time you find yourself wondering if it’s time to stay or go, the heuristic I would apply is: Is what you are doing important to you? Not: Is it fun — as everybody who has ever learned an instrument or sport knows that practice is often not that much fun, especially in the beginning. Not: Will it make me rich — as money is a poor long-term motivator and there is typically an easier way to make it. Simply: Is what you are doing important to you?