Below is a chapter from Rule #2: Don’t Be an Asshat: An Official Handbook for Raising Parents and Children. Over time we will be posting most of the book, though, should this inspire you to buy a copy, we would not be offended 🙂 Posted chapters can be found in the Table of Contents.


Rule #25: Let some things fail (Dad)

As important as it is to honor your commitments, there are going to be times when you must simply walk away, leave things incomplete, or allow things to fail.Knowing when it is time to push through and finish and when it is time to let go and walk away is a dance—a dance that

Knowing when it is time to push through and finish and when it is time to let go and walk away is a dance—a dance that lasts a lifetime. Holding on too long to tasks, relationships, and situations creates complicated webs of unhealthy dependence. Walking away too soon creates spaces of unresolved conflict and anxiety.

There is no way to know if it’s time to let something fail, but here are a few questions to ask as you are deciding.

Is there any joy? Sometimes we must deal with difficulty and obstacles. And while the tough stuff can be fun, if you feel as though you are losing life, it may be time to walk away—no success is worth your health in body, mind, and spirit.

Has it become about you? Often we are afraid if we leave, everything will fall apart. For any long-term project, this means that things have become more about you than the project. Yes, be vital, but avoid becoming irreplaceable.

Is death being delayed? Too often we have difficulty letting projects die. Endings can be done with dignity and care, but before we can see birth, we must first welcome death.

Rarely will walking away “feel good,” but even in the midst of any doubt, guilt, or grief, know that it is often out of failure that our greatest successes find their beginnings.

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