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When’s it okay to move on?

How do you decide when to give up on a movie or book?

Last year I watched 7 movies. And I read 15 books.

So based on last year, if I live to 75, I have 294 more movies that I’ll watch, and 630 more books that I’ll read. That’s not really that many. And an even better way to really illustrate it is like this, as Tim Urban does in his post The Tail End.

There’s this movie, Captain Fantastic, which looks great, and something that I’d usually like. The trailer reminded me of Into The Wild. But it wasn’t that interesting and kind of cliche, and I gave up 20 minutes in. Instead, I decided to watch talks given by Francesco Marconi, Michael Ellsberg and David Choe from Neil Strauss’ The Society. That was a great decision. Those people are doing amazing things and I got so much out of watching those.

I’ve also been reading The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch lately, and a week or so ago, I was considering giving up on it. It’s an amazing read but some of the topics would be more interesting to people really into physics or with a technical knowledge of other specific sciences.

But I stuck it out. And not so much for the content, but the way it was making me think about things. I didn’t fully understand the early chapters but what I did notice was that the way David Deutsch talks about how we analyse, learn and understand things was actually making me analyse, learn and attempt to understand things in a completely different way.

And from the next chapter I started loving it.

If you’re weighing up whether to give up watching, reading or doing something because you think that your time’s being wasted, it’s important to consider why you’re giving it up. If you’re getting something out of it, that is making you better in some way, keep on going until you can really say you no longer are.

And if you’re getting nothing out of what you’re doing, giving up’s okay. It’s what you do instead that matters.

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