The Premature Departure

Knowing when to stop your project is tough. Go too long and you dedicate time to something that just isn’t work. Cut it short early and you may abandon a future smash hit.

As my wife and I traveled to visit family for Christmas, we came upon an accident that reduced the highway to a single lane. Within ten minutes, cars began to turn around and head the opposite direction out of impatience.

Was their departure premature?

It’s impossible to know, and that’s the hard part about making hard decisions: you can’t know the outcome of every alternative. But there was only one way to continue South (the direction we were headed) and reach our destination. The alternative could be marginally shorter if everything went right. As cars, one at a time, peeled off in the opposite direction, we made it through to open highway within 10 minutes.

Who made the right call?

As more people abandoned the highway, the traffic on surface streets must’ve been jammed, too. And those that stayed the course saw open highway for hours after.

Our work, and our projects, can be the same. Abandon when the alternative is certainly better, but just know that most other people will do the same. Few will do the hard work over a long period in the face of limited feedback.

Stay the course, and you’ll reap the rewards of your patience.