Know when to walk away

I usually encourage people, when life gets tough to keep fighting until you win.  But there are times that the smart thing to do is to walk away and cut your losses.  The trick is knowing when to stay and fight and when to walk away.

Throughout life we all face challenges, obstacles and even setbacks.  I usually encourage people, when life gets tough to keep fighting until you win.  But there are times that the smart thing to do is to walk away and cut your losses.  The trick is knowing when to stay and fight and when to walk away.

I am a born fighter.  I do not fight with my hands – if I did, I would have started this blog by saying “I am a born loser”.

I have fought some of the toughest fights imaginable.   Being born with complications and disabilities caused from the rubella syndrome forced me to fight the moment I took my first breath. 

I fought against a constricted aorta, cataracts, a speech impediment, behavior issues and ADHD that got me expelled from grade school, high school and college.  Sure, there have been setbacks during each of these fights, but I never gave up and I have overcome each one of them to find the success I wanted in my life.

I am still fighting against an ischemic stroke to my spinal cord.  This fight is probably the biggest fight of my life I have faced to this date, and I know the fight is no where near over.  At times it feels like the spinal cord injury is kicking my butt, however I believe I am winning this fight because I refuse to give up and let it win.

For me, the quality of staying and fighting even when there is no hope of a win is basically an admirable one.  If it had not been for me staying and fighting against many of the challenges that arose from my disabilities, I would not be where I am today in life.

Every fight has made me stronger while preparing me for the next fight in my life.  I have learned many life lessons from all the fights I have faced.  Unfortunately, the hardest lesson I had to learn was to know when to walk away from a challenge.

Knowing when to walk away was difficult for me because I was so focused on succeeding, when I needed to look at the challenge objectively.  Over time I have learned to look for a clue that it is time to cut my losses and move on in life.  I often found clues easy to miss because some are small and subtle. 

At times it was hard for me to see it was time to walk away from a friendship or a romantic relationship because the other person so gradually moved away from me.

Other clues that were more obvious

When I was in college and the drop date approached each semester, often there was at least one class that I was failing so miserably that I would need to earn 500 extra credit points just to pull my grade up to a D.

There have been jobs that had all the signs that the business was failing and either the company would close shop or let me go.

I either missed these cues or ignored them because I was so determined to succeed. 

As you can imagine, when the clues that it is time to cut losses and move on are ignored, disaster follows.

Every friendship and relationship that I had ignored the subtle signs of it ending did end, and I was heartbroken because I foolishly didn’t see it coming.

Nearly every college course I should have dropped ended up with me failing the course and having to take it again while hoping I could avoid academic probation.

The job I ignored the warning sings of the impeding doom, that even my own parents saw, ended with me arriving at work one morning and being told that I had been let go before I even entered the office.

After all the hard knocks I have been through, I have learned to keep one eye on the goal of success and the other looking for clues about the possible outcome of my efforts.I have also learned that walking away from certain challenges did not mean I was a quitter, it meant I knew it was time to cut my losses, take the lessons I learned and move onto the next challenge in my life.