Be a Quitter Like Me

Kyle Eastham

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It used to bother me when someone called me a Quitter! In junior high school I quit the baseball team. Look, there goes Kyle. He's a Quitter!

Then after high school I had the tremendous honor of being accepted to attend the US Military Academy at West Point. What an amazing place. This is the hallowed training ground of Ulysses Grant, Robert E. Lee, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Patton, Norman Schwarzkopf, General George Custer – oh well, you can't win ‘em all. At least Custer didn't. But he did graduate from West Point in 1861 (last in his class).

But I was there at West Point where these military icons had their early formal military training on their way to becoming famous for their roles in American history.

And then I quit.

I quit and went home. I had been at West Point only one month. And I quit. When I got home there were some people who were surprised to see me. They said, “You quit? You didn’t even give it a chance. How could you quit?" Even though they didn’t say it out loud I could hear their tone of voice say, “What a loser!”

But now I don’t mind so much if people call me a Quitter. In fact, I’ve been quitting several things –- on purpose. And I think you should be a Quitter just like me.

  • Quit whining. No one wants to hear it. In fact, people avoid you. “Oh no, here comes Susan. I wonder what her crisis of the day is today. ”

  • Quit making excuses. A new cadet entering West Point is permitted to answer a question with one of only four responses, “Yes sir; No sir; Sir I do not understand; or No excuse sir. ” This last response teaches cadets to accept responsibility for whatever happens, even when things may be beyond their control.

  • Quit procrastinating. We all know we have things we need to do: work on the budget, return those phone calls, mow the grass, finish that proposal. But we get lazy and say to ourselves, “As soon as I check my e-mail (again), I’ll get started on that project…After this episode of Law & Order I’ll get busy…This weekend I’ll block out some time…"

    Blah, blah, blah. Pretty soon you wake up 15 years later wondering where the time went.

  • Quit dating the TV set. A USA Today article stated the average American viewer watches 31 hours of television every week. 31 hours! I’m not saying you have to unplug the TV and sell it on eBay. But what if you cut that number in half? What could you do with an extra 15 hours of time every week?

    Read a good book? Write a good book? Go back to school in the evenings? Learn another language? Build a treehouse with your kids or grandkids?

    Instead, you’re sitting on the couch eating ice cream, yelling at Simon on American Idol, and watching someone else follow their dreams!

  • Quit being average. Even if you’re not in the top 1% or top 5%, at least be in the top 50% of those things that really matter to you. You can at least be in the 51st percentile or higher – as a supervisor, an employee, a mom, a husband, in personal finance – whatever areas are the most important to you.

    So get out there and quit something. Be a Quitter like me!

    Kyle Eastham, the Black Belt Speaker, is a professional speaker in the corporate and association markets. He is a martial artist who develops Black Belts - in judo and in business. Author of the book Life is a Bowl of Choices. For more information, go to

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