Several years ago, I published a very popular post about commitment and the idea of “giving up”. I think it was around the time I had just quit my current obsession, karate classes. I would always start activities such as this along with horseback riding, dance, and organizations at school and then quit as soon as I felt that I no longer enjoyed it. The post I had written emphasized the importance of following your heart instead of what others said: basically, that quitting is only bad because society has given it a negative connotation and the truth is that life is too short to do something simply because you decided to start it. What I failed to mention in that post is that there are exceptions.
In fact, for most things, it doesn’t even apply. You shouldn’t drop out of school because math is hard. You shouldn’t stop working out because sweat makes you smell bad. You shouldn’t stop give up on your dreams because challenges are too difficult to overcome. You shouldn’t get out of a relationship just because sometimes there are disagreements. You shouldn’t stop trying to better yourself just because you’ve experienced failure before. Most importantly, you should not back out of a commitment for selfish reasons that involve harming another party; if you have made a commitment to someone else and have not provided a solution or a replacement before your exit, quitting can be seen as nothing short of cowardice or laziness.
If, on the other hand, your quitting an activity or an organization or a relationship or a hobby has little to minimal effect on the other party and you yourself are content with your decision, then nothing should hold you back- especially not the opinions of others. If you’ve resolved to learn another language, but then find it not worth the effort and lack the motivation and no longer find joy in learning that language, there is no rule book that states you are a bad person for changing your mind and choosing a different language or goal altogether. Life can seem long sometimes but when you’re doing something you love it is very, very short- too short to let the opinions of others keep you from doing whatever it is that you want to create a sense of self-satisfaction and purpose in your life.