You have to know when to stop

I was writing a post and I just thought this isn’t going anywhere so I deleted it and here I am starting another one and then i thought, this is something is quite an important skill in life (no not writing rubbish blog posts) but knowing when to quit. Of course no one wants to a quitter and I don’t mean quitting on the things which are good for you or on your dreams, I mean quitting on the things that aren’t going anywhere on the things which are bad for you. Oh come on SOSO everyone knows to quit things that aren’t good for them. Right? WRONG! Nowadays it seems we human beings seem intent on coasting without ever hitting the brakes even if we’re headed for disaster.

Doesn't know when to stop
Doesn’t know when to stop

We have to know when to stop. I’ll give you a personal experience, one time in my Algorithms and data structures class we were given our weekly lab sheets and week to do them in. I took it and went straight to the library to bang it out, I started and it was going really well, my coding was on point everything was going according to plan. I think I was even more proud of myself because I did the lab sheet all by myself without asking anyone for help. So when I had finished I closed my Mac and went on my way. Then the day to present our work to the TAs came and boy oh boy was I ready. Well as it turns out no I wasn’t ready, because according to the TA I had gotten it wrong it was one of those situations where if you get the first question wrong every subsequent question is also wrong. While he was explaining where I went wrong he said something to the effect of “you have to know when your going down the wrong path” basically you need to know when to stop when you’ve got it wrong. To be honest with you I never really gave it much thought until now when writing this post but I do see the wisdom in what he said. Knowing you’re going down the wrong path can help you to stop going down the wrong path.

If only every wrong path had this sign!
If only every wrong path had this sign!

Now thats all fine and dandy but the common problem is that sometimes like me in my programming class we just do not see that we are going down the wrong path, we are so sure that we’re doing things the right way when in reality we are not. When we realise that we’ve been wrong all along, we become disappointed and start to question if we are able to make right decisions after all. We think how could this have turned out wrong when I thought it was going so well? The truth is I don’t have any answers to this, sometimes the best things turn out to be wrong and what can we do except learn and move on.

However I think there are two ways that we can protect ourselves from going down the wrong path the first is to 1) Really analyse the situation to see if you’re going down the right path: of course we cannot tell the future sometimes even with all the planning and “good” decisions in the world, things will still turn bad but that’s part of being human and being reminded we can’t control everything. But you can still and should take time to analyse the paths you are taking and see if they are going to lead somewhere good. Ask yourself questions like: “Would I tell my future child to do what I am doing?” “Why?” “Why not?” “Am I proud of myself for taking this path?” questions like these force you to really evaluate whether you need to stop or continue what you are doing. Also something that can really help you know when to stop is 2. Talking to someone about your plans: if you read my flashback into my programming mishap you will see that I was proud that I never asked anyone for help, this ended up being my downfall because if I talked to a peer about the lab sheet they probably would have told me that I was wrong and I would have spared myself the disappointment and embarrassment. The same thing happens, we’re doing or going through something without talking to anyone about it and then BOOM it blows up in our face and maybe if we had just spoken up we would have heard something that could have prevented it from blowing up. I know that sometimes talking to others about personal issues may seem like a weakness I feel the same but you need to be wise and speak to someone who you can trust, who your completely comfortable with, someone who will not judge you and talk about it.

This post is not I repeat NOT about giving up on your dreams or things that are benefiting you this post is a small guidance that sometimes we all need to evaluate if the things we are doing are good for us. For example, how many relationships after they were finished have people turned around and said I should have left 5 years ago. 5 YEARS AGO! But why didn’t they? Because they didn’t know when to stop, they never looked and thought OK is this really the best situation for me to be in? Do I even see a future with this person? No they just kept going on, wasting time losing precious time. Let’s all (me included) start looking at where we need to stop and actually stop. I think it’s time for me to stop writing now (see progress!)

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