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Perspective: You should take a gamble on your life coach

Thomas van de Weerd
via Wikimedia Commons

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em

Recently, a friend decided to stop halfway through the Rome marathon. On Facebook he explained he wasn't really quitting, but the day was hot, and he just was not feeling it.

With the current praise of grit and resilience, quitting gets a bad rap. The problem is a lack of nuance about how both actions can be equally valid, depending on context. It makes sense to preach grit to a child who is faced with learning a new skill or undertaking a difficult, but necessary, task. Even adults need a resilience booster when completing a duty that is essential for work, family or self-care.

However, there are times when grit and resilience are not the solution: if someone sees fault in all you do, no amount of extra work, extra effort or positive attitude is going to change the outcome. In a toxic relationship, trying harder is not going to help you either. Quitting to find a place where you are appreciated would be more effective.

Which brings me to Kenny Rogers’ "The Gambler," whose lyrics sum-up this dilemma perfectly:

...the secret to survivin'

is knowin' what to throw away

and knowin' what to keep..

So, as you go through life: "you got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run." It's the knowing, not the quitting or the resilience, that makes the difference.

I'm Frances Jaeger, and that is my Perspective

Frances Jaeger is an associate professor of Spanish at Northern Illinois University. Her research interests include Latin American contemporary poetry as well as Caribbean and Central American literature.