The first year of law school was exciting. It was challenging, interesting, and dramatic. However, by the time my third year rolled around, I was losing interest in law. The dull, corporate classes were making me want to chop my fingers off. It was also becoming clear to me that I didn’t want to pursue a career as a lawyer.
I could have dropped out, but I didn’t. Instead, I took the very NON-multipotentialite course of action and stuck it out.
I usually encourage multipotentialites to leave projects behind if they’re no longer feeling them, but there are times when not quitting is the right thing to do.
Here are three scenarios in which you might think twice about jumping ship:
1. You Are Very Close to a Finish Line
If your project has a natural end point, and you are fairly close to reaching it, you might want to hold on a little longer.
In the situation described above, I had made it through nearly two and a half years, and had one more year to go. If the program were any longer, I might have dropped out, but something inside made me stick with it. I wanted that degree. I wanted the sense of accomplishment, even if it made no difference from a career perspective. I also found ways of making my remaining time in the program more fun.
Keep in mind that there are often multiple finish lines, and once you reach one, another will appear. For instance, some people thought I was crazy to get my degree and then never take the bar exam. But if I had taken the bar and then quit, some people would have thought I was crazy for doing all that hard work only to never practice law. At that point, I would have felt tremendous pressure to become a lawyer. If I had become a lawyer and then quit a few years into it, people would have made the same exact comment: what a waste of time, energy, and money.
Don’t let other people’s expectations push you into a career you don’t want. If you are close to an end point that feels like a good stopping place to you, then push through, feel that sense of accomplishment, and say goodbye.
2. You’re Feeling Resistance
How do you tell the difference between resistance and a personal end point? Both can make you feel bored, but resistance has a few unique qualities:
Resistance usually comes on quickly (then sometimes disappears and reappears again quickly), causing us to panic. A personal end point, on the other hand, builds slowly over time. If you feel like making a rash decision and quitting suddenly, it’s probably resistance. Give it more time to see how you feel.
Although we may feel bored, resistance usually has an element of excitement to it. When you think about your project, do you feel both dread and longing? Does it make your heart beat faster? If so, it’s probably resistance. Hold on, and see how you feel in the upcoming weeks or months.
3. It’s Funding Your Life/Dreams
My friend Mike told me about a mental shift he once made that helped him better appreciate his day job. Instead of viewing his job as the thing that was taking him away from his personal projects, he began to see it as the thing that was funding his projects and allowing him to pursue them.
I’m a big fan of side hustles. If you’re working on building a business, get something going on the side. And don’t feel like you need to quit your day job right away. Financial security can be a really nice buffer when you’re getting something off the ground.
Some multipods use the Einstein approach, and pursue all of their passions on the side, as hobbies. It’s a lot less stressful when you don’t have to worry about monetizing your interests, and some people prefer this approach. If you’re happy with your day job, and it gives you the time and creative energy to pursue your other projects on the side, then that’s great. No need to quit.
It’s a Personal Decision
To a multipotentialite, quitting shouldn’t be seen as a failure, but as a natural and necessary step in your evolution. That said, the choice whether to let something go is personal, and there are times when sticking with something for a while longer might be the right thing to do.
Was there ever a time when you thought about quitting something, but decided to stick it out for a while longer? How did you come to that decision?
Emilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe
scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.