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“I Give Up. I Quit!”

Can I be honest with you for a minute?  

Is this a safe space?

Ok, great.  I’m just going to assume you said yes.

For the last month or so, I’ve been feeling frustrated with my hobby experience.

I mean, it hasn’t been all bad, but it’s probably felt more frustrating than fun.  Lately, there have been several times, I find myself scrolling through hobby social media feeds saying, “I don’t care about any of this stuff.” 

“These cards are dumb.” 

“Why in the world do so many people listen to what this idiot is saying?”

There have been times where I’ve wondered if I’ve shared all I can share in the hobby.  I’m not sure my thoughts or perspectives are resonating with anyone these days.

Last week, I stumbled across an article I wrote a while ago.  It was March 2020 to be exact.  In it, I challenged frustrated collectors to take a deep look at what they enjoy and what they don’t enjoy about the hobby and then consider if there is something they need to quit in order to have more fun.

I think it’s time I do a bit of reflection on the topic to see if I might be able to benefit from some “addition by subtraction”.

I’m a bit biased, but I really like what I wrote, so I wanted to include the contents of that post below in its entirety. 

I hope you find some value in reading it.

From – March 2020

Let me ask you a question.

Do you enjoy collecting cards?

No really.   If the whole card industry went away, do you think your life would be better or worse?

I think if you really stop and think about it, an honest answer for some of you would be yes, I would be better off if it all went away.  For others, you can’t fathom life without cards.

Regardless of what your answer was to that question, I want to challenge you to think through WHY you answered what you did.

The card industry is the strongest it’s been in years.  Manufacturers continue to have increasing sales, new hobby shops are popping up, attendance at the National continues to climb, and both new and returning collectors are adding to the ranks of folks who are active in the hobby community.

Some seem to embrace this collecting resurgence we’ve seen, but others seem to view the hobby through a negative lens.

That’s who I want to speak to today.  The collector who just can’t help but look at the current state of the hobby in a negative light.  

Studies have shown that constant negativity damages your relationships and the moods of those you interact with, but it also hurts your mental and physical health through elevated stress levels.  

There are a lot of things in life that can be a challenge to deal with and they aren’t always going to go according to plan.  But in this scenario we’re talking about a hobby.  A pastime which is supposed to relax us and give us an escape from the day to day stresses of life.  

Yet for some collectors, they bring their bad mood and pessimistic perspective into the hobby.

If this is you, I’m curious to know why you continue to collect?  Does it bring you joy, or does it only add to your frustration and stress?

Have you found yourself wondering that same thing?

If you find yourself on the side of stress, anxiety, and frustration, it may be time for you to quit. Really, it’s ok.  You can walk away.

Why waste your money on something you are no longer enjoying?  Why engage with a community that causes anger and frustration?  Why spend your time creating more negativity when there are things you could be doing that actually bring you joy?  There is an often quoted Bible verse that says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  That means sometimes that season passes and it’s time to move on.

Why not just quit?  

But Mike, I can’t quit.  What would I do with my time?  I’ve already got so much of who I am invested in this hobby?  If I walked away, I would miss it.  It’s really just a few things that bother me.

Ahhh, now we’re getting somewhere!

Maybe you don’t need to quit the entire hobby, maybe you just need to quit certain things.  Maybe you just need to quit collecting a certain way.  Move from a set collector to a team collector.  Stop chasing autos and focus on a team.  Just because you have always collected one way, doesn’t mean you always will have to collect that way.  Find a new angle which brings back the joy and excitement you felt when you were just getting started.  

Change is ok, in fact, it’s even good for you.  Try something new.  Get that passion back. 

Maybe you just need to quit following a certain account.  Life’s too short to willingly put yourself through misery.  Especially if that misery comes via the social media accounts of internet strangers you’ve never met.  You may not need to quit the hobby, just quit some of the people in the hobby that get you worked up!

The unfollow and block buttons can be your friend. For whatever reason, some unhappy people make it their mission to make others feel as awful as they do.  Don’t allow that to happen, don’t give them the mental real estate necessary to alter your mood.  Unfriend, unfollow, block if necessary and move on!

Maybe you just need to quit spending so much time and money on cards.  Especially if that’s adding stress your your finances or other relationships.  Find ways to set a budget or generate additional income to make it a self sustaining hobby.  Even good things done in excess can be bad for you.  This hobby is no different.  If you find yourself in a situation where the time or money you are spending on cards is hurting your finances or relationships, it’s time for a change.

Or maybe you need to quit thinking of yourself as the hobby gatekeeper whose role it is to correct everyone else’s incorrect opinions?  It’s a big world out there and there are a lot of people in it.  Many of them will make mistakes, and many of them will have opinions that aren’t necessarily based on fact.  

Thank goodness I’m not required to correct them or convince them that they are wrong.  That’s not my job, and guess what, it’s not yours either!  I do what I can to educate, to share knowledge and information, and to point people to resources that can help them enjoy the hobby more.  Stop trying to change things you have no control over.  It makes life much more enjoyable.

In best selling author Bob Goff’s book Love Does, he describes how he quits something every Thursday. This creates the space necessary to fill his life with things and people he truly loves. I recommend checking out the book and maybe even trying the strategy!

So my challenge to you is this.  Think about why you collect.  Think about what you like about the hobby, and what drains your enthusiasm.  Then decide what you are going to quit so that you can enjoy this great hobby more!


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