Quitting at Half-Time and the Erosion of Self-Esteem

I come up with lots of ideas and projects.
Sometimes my mind explodes with a grandiose idea that in the naked light of day just doesn’t stack up.
Or maybe I get into it, and realize:
Hey- this idea isn’t so great after all.
This isn’t my passion.
This doesn’t fit into my goals.
This is too crazy.
This isn’t that original.

The list goes on.
Some of the best advice I ever got was to immediately and whole-heartedly drop these half-hearted projects.
Let them go completely and never look back.

In the past, I often let them linger in my mind.
For years they would fester,
frustrating me and making me feel subconsciously bad about the important work I wasn’t doing.

The most important thing for me now early on is to log the idea and then quickly dismiss the ones I don’t plan to pursue entirely. This clears mental room for the projects I DO want to pursue. And I can chase those with reckless abandon.

Something I have noticed is,
the deeper you get into a half-hearted project,
the harder it is to extricate yourself from it.
Soon enough, there are expectations involved;
your own and possibly other collaborators you’ve brought along with you.
If you turn your back on the project mid-way, it’s not just yourself you’re letting down,
it’s those other people too.
That puts you in a difficult position:
you must either stick with the project you don’t love and waste your own time,
or give it up, knowing you have wasted others.

Giving up on projects halfway is a practice I don’t like to keep.
An unfinished project has a corrosive effect on one’s self-esteem.
It makes you feel like a failure.
It makes you question your own judgment.
Over time, you may even wonder whether you are capable of completing anything at all!

The more projects you walk away from mid-way,
the more it destroys your confidence.
Soon, others will lose confidence in you also.
They will see you trying things, and giving up all the time,
and they themselves will hesitate to follow your lead,
or get excited for you,
since it seems like a waste of time and energy for them to do so.

To avoid this effect, I recommend evaluating projects by the COMMIT OR QUIT method I have outlined in the previous post.

This often requires you wait til you have enough information about the project to make such an assessment.

Starting projects quietly seems like a good idea. More on this in the next post…

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