All posts by Tom Carroll

To Quit or Not? – That is the question


To Quit or Persevere?

Quitting or giving up something or to keep going despite what looks like failure has always been something that has fascinated me. I often ask myself this question should I quit and move on to something else as this is not working or should I just stick with it despite my frustratingly slow progress? When is the right time to pivot to something new or should I persevere to the bitter end in the hope that I will eventually succeed?
If you think about something like developing a website, how many websites are going to be successful commercially? The reality is very few – most are never going to make any money.  How many books will be a commercial success? The average book sells only 250 copies. That’s a huge amount of work for very little reward. The same with online courses – most of the revenue in any category goes to the top courses in that category. The majority of courses will share the crumbs. Only 20% of new businesses survive past their first year of operation. The reality is that most will fail.
At the end of the day I think quitting or giving up is not about the results you are getting which might be terrible – it’s about how you feel. Does it feel right for you to keep going when things look bleak or is it wearing you down/keeping you up at night? There are times when it is definitely right to quit.  Unfortunately I  think that at times we can feel trapped by thoughts like “a quitter never wins and a winner never quits”. That somehow it’s shameful to quit something and that we must never quit.

No! If it doesn’t feel right then quit and make room for new and exciting things in your life.
There is a great quote that sums it up nicely:

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

Alexander Graham Bell

Activation Energy & How to Overcome Barriers to Starting Something New in 2018

In chemistry, activation energy is the energy which must be available to a chemical system with potential reactants to result in a chemical reaction. Activation energy may also be defined as the minimum energy required to start a chemical reaction.

The term has also been used by psychologists to describe the motivation required to begin a task.   It could also be the energy needed to move from doing something on auto pilot to doing something new.

I know in my own life activation energy is an issue I grapple with.  Where do I get the energy to write a new post on this website?  I certainly didn’t feel like it today!  It’s much easier to surf the internet and waste time doing pleasurable mindless tasks.  Where or how do we get the energy to do something we don’t want to do/something we have been procrastinating on?

Experiments to try out

Below are three things to experiments with in your life to overcome the activation energy needed to start tasks.

1. The 10 minute rule:

The 10 minute rule is one of the 28 actionable experiments in my book ‘Experiments in Personal Change’ and I love it.  Simply tell yourself, “I’m going to do this for 10 minutes. Once I get to the 10-minute mark, I’ll decide whether to keep going.”  More than likely once you have done something for 10 minutes you will decide to keep going.  There is a saying in Irish ‘Tús maith, leath na hoibre’ which means A good start is half the work.  All you need to do is get started and already you are half way there!

2.  Count from  5 down to 1 (5 second rule)

Count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then move!  It’s that simple.  You don’t feel like getting off the couch? Right, do the countdown and then move your arm, your leg or any part of your body.  Once you move it’s easier to keep going.  If I don’t feel like getting out of bed I do the countdown and move – any movement at all makes me get out of bed…’s almost like the movement breaks a trance and you just continue.  Mel Robbins explains the 5 second rule in talk below.

3.  Make yourself accountable to someone else

Finally, make a date with someone else. It’s easy to back out of something, be it a walk or a run, a trip to the gym, or anything else, if you have no accountability.

Activation energy is really important to our success in 2018 so make sure you are ready to overcome obstacles when  you don’t feel like doing something (which will be most of the time!).  Remember ‘Tús maith, leath na hoibre’

Best Wishes,


PS. You also might have other ideas on overcoming activation energy needed to start tasks/start new things that have worked for you.  You are  invited to share your ideas below so that others can benefit from your experiences (thanks in advance).