How To Know When To Quit

How To Know When To Quit

October 19, 2018

Warren Buffett has famously said that his favorite holding period for stocks is forever.

He doesn’t believe we should ever quit.


But of course Buffett quits on stocks. He’s sold many over the years. He doesn’t always hold forever. He does quit.

How does he know when it’s over?

It’s over when he doesn’t like the losing anymore.

It’s one thing when a stock goes down but you love the company. When you love a company, you love the losing.

Wait, I can get more of a great thing at a better price? I’m in! 

Losing isn’t losing when you love something. The time to quit, in this situation, is never.

And that’s what it comes down to: the losing.

Everything is a party in the good times. Everything is rosy when you’re frolicking on the beach. In happy times, quitting never even enters the picture.

But every rose has its thorn.

The tough part is knowing what to do with that thorn.

If we drop everything in our lives at the first bad turn, we’ll have nothing. If we keep everything around forever, we could find ourselves bored, trapped, compromised, or worse.

Again, how do we know?

The losing lets us know.

If we’re on a team and we can’t wait to come in after a loss and fix it with our teammates? We don’t quit.

If we’re in a relationship and nothing is more important than working out the trouble? We don’t quit.

If we’re at a job and sales go down but we’re obsessed with turning it around? We don’t quit.

But if the losing is insufferable and the fighting is soul-crushing and you don’t ever want to make another sales call?

Time to quit.

And if Warren Buffett sees his stock fall and hates the fundamentals–if he hates the losing–Mr. Hold-Everything-Forever would quit, too.


My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.