William Liao

September 21, 2022

Completionism

Completionism treats every commitment like a kind of legally-binding agreement. 

It abides by one simple rule: if you committed to something at some point, then you’ll do it. 

On paper, this sounds fantastic—inspiring even—and you might be thinking that perhaps we should all be completionists!

But this perspective discounts one fundamental reality which is that context and priorities can shift, which inevitably renders some activities less vital than they once were. 

To selectively disengage from something that no longer makes sense to participate in so you can put your energy somewhere else more useful is better described as diligent withdrawal than it as merely quitting — along with all the negative connotations we give the word. 

For most activities, it’s worth negotiating a simple condition: you and whoever else is participating will participate until it stops making sense to do so. 

This encourages everyone to continuously evaluate what purpose their commitments serve, and it also protects everyone from making the wildly irrational, wasteful, and costly error of doing something for the sole purpose of doing it.