To Quit

I’m telling you, if you don’t watch Survivor on television, it may be time to start. But even if you don’t, read on because this isn’t really about the show. There are so many life lessons offered by decisions people make on Survivor. This week a contestant quit. He walked off, losing his shot at $1 million, securing his place among just a few others considered quitters of the game. Survivor is tough. It is a game of endurance to see who can outwit, outplay and outlast the other contestants. And contestants fight to stay in the game one day at a time. Their fate is sealed when they get voted out of the game, after they have tried their best to stay in.The quitting situation offered a stunning analogy. This guy, Colton, was not liked by his tribe. His people, those he was stuck with for the first several days of the game, did not like him. He was a difficult person, shockingly selfish, condescending and sometimes a bully. Because his tribe members didn’t fall for his antics and play his way, he felt disliked and therefore unsure of his future in the game.

When the going got tough, he wanted to quit. So here’s the real life analogy… this annoying guy was at a crossroads and had the perfect opportunity, because he knew exactly why people didn’t like him (they had told him), to change his attitude and change his gamesmanship. He could have given himself a pep talk and chosen to behave differently, becoming more self-less, more open to others, and less difficult. He could have tried to fit in with his tribe, adjusted his attitude and given his all to stay in the game. He could have given it his best shot, and if he got voted out, so be it.

Instead, he was emotional and reacted to his feelings. He quit.

I think of times when I have quit. There have been times I have felt hurt, taken advantage of, misunderstood and maltreated. When the going got tough, I got going. “I don’t deserve to be treated this way” and similar thoughts are easily fussed over and perpetuated. But the older I get the more I see that that the going gets tough no matter where I’m going. Life produces difficult times and it is in those times we can adjust our attitudes, get strong and work hard: fight to stay in the game.

For fans of Survivor I dare say that those who quit truly disappoint us because it shows real weakness on the part of the contestant. I would have admired Colton if he stayed in the game and used the negative feedback from his tribe to do something different, give it a good try. I like the lesson in this — when ready to give up, feed into emotion and quit, why not look for a different way to be? What is there to lose?

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