Hearing people talk about the hazards of quitting is interesting—they talk with so much conviction. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Right? Well, as any gambler who’s lost a finger to a loan shark will tell you, the guy who penned that quote was completely full of shit.

The fact is, not knowing when to quit could prove quite disastrous, depending on what you’re doing. On the contrary, knowing when to quit is one of the most valuable skills a person can possess.

I won’t be the kind of guy to tell you not to gamble. I’m also a devout believer in the idea that scared money don’t make money. However, rather than being the guy who keeps trudging onward in the face of peril, be the kind of person who conducts due diligence, digs dirt and takes only calculated risks you truly believe are going to pay off.

At that point, if things go south and you need to cut and run, it won’t be because you didn’t try or didn’t put your best foot forward.

But, when I say “know when to quit,” I’m not just talking about business. Knowing when to quit is a universal concept that affects our careers, our home lives, our personal relationships and every aspect of our lives, really.

You’re trying and trying and trying to make the relationship work, but it’s still not getting better? Dust yourself off and walk away. There are seven billion people in the world, and over 3.5 billion of them are women. Of those 3.5 billion, there’s gotta be at least one with whom you actually get along.

You want to be a pro football player but the facts are, even if you do manage to make it on a college team, the odds of you playing pro ball are damn slim. Over 70,000 play NCAA ball and, of them, about 250 get to play pro. Those are long odds, less than 0.4 percent. You literally have a better chance of knocking up a stranger while wearing a condom—or, in another sports context, rooting for Iceland to win the World Cup—than you do of being a professional football player.

Speaking plainly often means that peoples’ feelings are going to get hurt, so I want to take a brief moment to reiterate that this isn’t an article about not chasing your dreams.

The goal here isn’t to convince you to stop looking to the stars. Rather, I’m asking you to look at your time and energy as investments that are as valuable as money. Invest wisely, know the risks you’re taking, and be ready for all outcomes.

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