There’s No Point In Being A Damn Fool About It

Over the FallsIf at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.” ~ W. C. Fields

I received an email last week from a reader who asked about giving up. I mentioned briefly about “knowing when to get off” in the “The Path of the Entrepreneur Is a Toll Road” post, but haven’t really written much about it. Giving up that is.

So when do you know it’s time to chuck it and move on?

Notice The Current

Being a successful entrepreneur requires passion. Anyone can throw together a half-assed business plan, or sign up for their uncle Bill’s timeshare pyramid scheme. But to be truly successful, it’s the passion that drives you.

When that passion goes away, it’s hard to keep going. If you’re doing something you hate, but are collecting a paycheck – well at least there’s the paycheck. Maybe benefits too. But when you’re struggling to get a business up and running, not making any money, and begin hating what you do, its time to reassess.

There’s a huge difference between “giving up” and “moving on.” Giving up tends to create images of failure – walking away with your head hung, and letting your dreams die.

Moving on means noticing where the current is headed, and following a different route to your goals. Dreams change, goals change, and plans change. Moving on, but staying true, is not the same as giving up on yourself.

“Is That The Fray Playing…?”

For many, it’s not obvious when it’s time to move on. It’s not like you hear The Fray’s “How to Save a Life,” playing in the background. There are probably some indications in plain site. You may just not see them.

Or maybe you do. Maybe you know you’re headed over the falls and are too proud to give up. But you have to take a good hard look at what’s going on. Maybe it’s time to move on.

As long as it’s for the right reasons.

Foolish or Fearful…?

Continuing to try and keep your home-based business going when it’s obvious your heart’s not in it, is one thing. It’ll just keep getting worse, resentment will set in, and your customers will start suffering. That’s the last place you want to be.

But if you’re just afraid, then quitting is going to be the worse possible thing you can do. You’ll trade fear for regret. Fear will eventually go away, regret may not.

If you are considering giving up, you have to be absolutely sure why:

  • Loss of passion,
  • Your business is a commodity and there’s no way to make it not (or any way you want to),
  • Something better comes along,
  • You still aren’t profitable after consistent and measurable action over a reasonable period of time (2 months, not so much, 2 years, maybe it’s time to move on).

These are viable reasons to move on. Fear, procrastination, laziness – these are not.

The thing is, only you know the real reason. Only you know what’s going on inside your head and your gut. It’s ultimately your decision.

Just make sure it’s for the right reasons. I’ll take fear over regret any day.


  1. There’s a huge difference between “giving up” and “moving on.”

    That is so true. I’ve had my fair share of “start-ups” that didn’t work. I think the difference is you keep looking for something else if what you’re doing isn’t working. Really, you only fail when you quit trying, and quit progressing toward your set goals.

  2. Sound advice, T. Sticking with something you don’t really love is what we consider a “job”. Do what you love and that in itself is the paycheck. If it’s financially successful, well then that’s the bonus check.


  3. Some people believe in not giving up till the last moment, or when they already have ‘one foot in the coffin’. It exhibits good spirit no doubt, but sometimes it also shows what a fool he is. A smart person will stop and give up when he has to, and prepare himself for the next comeback or battle instead.

  4. I was the one who wrote about quitting, but I think moving on lines-up better with my current situation.

    Thanks Tony for very valuable insight. Again… 🙂

  5. Anthony – “…you only fail when you quit trying…” You’re absolutely right.

    Shane – Great point. The drive is what will eventually leads to success.

    Viji – Thanks.

    Lyndon – That’s true. The sooner you see the writing on the wall, and take the appropriate action, the better.

    Alex – You’re welcome, and thank you for getting me thinking 🙂

  6. Excellent! Another thing to remember is there are many “successful” people that have “moved on” from previous ventures. Moving on is not a sign of failure – its probably easier to keep going on a bad path than to move on. The key is probably making sure you learn from it.

    Jason Alba
    CEO –

  7. Giving up is when you stop and don’t try to learn from any failures. When you take what you’ve learned and head in a different direction, that is definitely not giving up.

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