Skip to main content
The Works

Keep going. (Also: Get Going)

Shannon, Box of Crayons’ CEO, and me after not quitting an exercise class together

Don’t quit*

I’m enjoying the Huberman Lab podcast. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor at Stanford School of Medicine, digs into the science behind all sorts of ways and means of being fit (with “fit” being used in the broadest sense of the word, not just physical fitness.)

Listening to this this episode on endurance, I was struck by this statement when discussing how much of quitting is mental and how much is physical, he said:

“It’s neither mental nor physical. Everything is neurons … It’s 100% nervous system.”

Knowing how to fuel up your body so adrenaline keeps getting fed into your system helps you keep going when you’re hearing that voice in your head that can be so persuasively convincing that it’s entirely reasonable to give up and stop.

I find that helpful because, in part, it gets me out of my “you have no willpower” cycle I sometimes find myself in 😬.

But deciding to quit or not presumes you have a specific physical goal to complete, some sort of end point in mind, like getting through a workout or staying in an ice bath longer.

The goal isn’t in question. It’s just about keeping going for another minute or five or thirty.


The bigger question

The harder and juicier question plays out at a bigger scale, a conversation about what’s the bigger thing you want to commit to.

What’s the Worthy Goal? What’s your combination of Thrilling + Important + Daunting?

For me, with the launch of How to Work with (Almost) Anyone behind me (phew!), I’m now sitting with the question:

What does it mean to commit fully to championing this book for the next twelve months?

Because one part of me is ready to quit. I wrote a great book, we did a fun launch … perhaps our work here is done?

But no. HTWW(A)A will change 10 million working relationships, but it hasn’t yet. So time to play the bigger game and dream big. Thrilling. Important. Daunting.


Time to start something that’s worth not quitting?

I’ve been using the tools from How to Begin and my community in The Conspiracy to help me work through this and figure big stuff out.

Today How to Begin LIVE starts. You can still sneak in and join us. It’s a delightfully intimate group this round, so if you don’t love crowds, this one’s for you.


*Oh yes. Just a reminder. Sometimes the very best thing you can do is quit. But that’s for another newsletter.

Want The Works in your inbox?
Sign up (free) here
Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.