“If the horse is dead, dismount” may be my all-time favorite saying, partly because it is all eat up with cleverness, but mostly because there seems to be a lot of us still attempting to ride dead horses. Author and Pepperdine friend, Bob Goff, famously quits something every Thursday, which may be my favorite thing that he famously does. Many of us apparently need permission to stop doing things, so the encouragement is appreciated.
We come by it naturally. We were all taught that quitting is bad, and as long as we’re talking about finishing out a season in little league or performing acts of physical hygiene, then yes, quitting is bad. But if we are talking about, say, repeatedly slapping one’s head against a brick wall, or name your favorite drug habit, then quitting might not be a terrible idea at all.
Those distinctions are easy, but we apparently get a little confused on the acceptability of quitting somewhere between regular brushing and smoking crack.
Organizations may actually be worse than individuals at dismounting dead horses. Organizations run on established programs and processes that, once established, become prime evidence for the power of inertia. Such programs and processes should not be changed lightly, of course, but if “this is the way we do it”—with emphasis on “the”—becomes an excuse to keep doing something that quit working a long time ago…well, someone should call the horse coroner.
Look around your life and your house and your workplace to see if there just might be some things that you mindlessly keep doing for absolutely no good reason. If so, I grant thee permission to quit. You can wait until Thursday if you want. The horse is over it either way.