Unhappy? Quitting Might Help

Bernstein and Streep argue that the most satisfied people have mastered the art of disengaging.
Bernstein and Streep argue that the most satisfied people have mastered the art of disengaging.

Over and over, people are told, “quitters never win.” But, in “Mastering the Art of Quitting,” readers are shown that learning how to let go can actually make them happier. The book, written by Peg Streep and Alan B. Bernstein, argues that quitting can be beneficial and that learning how to quit can create a better state of mind.

The book looks at why people continue to persist, how to fully disengage from goals that are unproductive, handle the emotions involved with quitting and create new and better objectives moving forward. It is a “myth of persistence” in today’s society that causes a fear of quitting for many people. The familiar mantra “quitters never win,” can sometimes hold people back. “Sometimes you merely get stuck running in place,” Bernstein says. “What we argue in the book is there’s really an art to deescalating your connection to where you’ve been and disengaging.”

Of course, the decision to quit something can be a very difficult one to make. Bernstein describes making that decision in a two-step process: “You have to actively make an intellectual decision to disengage,” Bernstein says. “Then you have to make an emotional one you have to realize it’s going to feel lousy. You’re going to start blaming and feeling angry, but then, hopefully, you’re going to make a decision to reactivate yourself.” Choosing to reactivate involves an evaluation of goals. Finding the best way to meet those goals is an important step in the art of quitting. “That leads to a change in motivation where you decide where you’re going to go,” Bernstein says. “If you’re really dedicated and want to get out of this you write it down. You pre-prepare yourself by deciding what the potential downfalls in your new direction might be.”

Bernstein also lays out several different factors that hold people back from cutting the cord. These factors act as support systems that keep the “myth of persistence” going.“One is the sunk cost fallacy,” Bernstein says. “That goes into any situation where the story goes ‘I put so much into it I should stay with it,’ and frequently, that’s not really the best solution.” Another factor holding people back is the idea of unconscious bias. “This is very common in relationships or jobs where you get just enough praise to feel that ‘next time I’ll do it better,’” says Bernstein. “There’s a hopefulness that comes from that unconscious bias but it’s unpredictable and ends up making people very anxious.”

Mastering the art of quitting and overcoming these support systems makes it easier to acknowledge a bad situation and move on. “Psychologically, it frees you from the idea that you must persist,” Bernstein says. “It places persistence as an equal opposite force to disengagement and choosing another goal. Secondly, you train yourself how to go about the business of making new goals and writing them down.” Becoming happier, Bernstsein argues, involves advancing toward those goals you truly care about.  “Are you moving closer to your intrinsic needs?” Bernstein says. “Are you, in effect, trading off for the areas that make you unhappy? [Mastering involves] advancing your intrinsic goals and minimizing the parts of your life that are working against you.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

Local

Paint Nite: Get drunk and make a painting…

At Paint Nite, New Yorkers can drink and make a painting at a New York City bar.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.