Image by: ND Strupler via Creative Commons on Flickr


You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,

Know when to walk away, know when to run.

 – Lyrics by Don Schlitz and sung by Kenny Rogers in The Gambler


These words of wisdom from The Gambler are pretty relevant to living and leading “exuberantly”. But easier said than done.

  • How do you know when to quit and when to carry on?
  • What if you quit just before the big pay-off comes?
  • What if hanging on too long wipes out your chance at a better opportunity?

Basing your choices on predicting the future is a losing proposition. We can’t rely on prediction as our primary criterion.

Another risky move is choosing on the basis of “is this easy or just too hard?” Everything worth achieving is worth putting in the effort to do well. And often, the work is emotional labor that gets pretty uncomfortable.

Quitting when it gets too hard may be stopping just before you achieve a breakthrough. But “staying the course” can be just digging the hole deeper.

But there is one criterion we can always count on for trustworthy guidance. A standard where we can have clarity and freedom of choice.  That criterion is revealed when we ask ourselves “what do I truly care about?”  What does my heart tell me? Not what I have been told or sold by others.

Give it a try. As you look ahead to 2015, take inventory.

Ask yourself:

  1. Where should I “fold-em” because I don’t really care that much anymore?
  2. Where should I “hold-em” because I still do care very much?


Take a look through the following categories:

  1. Relationships you are investing time in
  2. Possessions you maintain or store
  3. Information you take in regularly
  4. Conversations you have
  5. Places you frequent
  6. Entertainment you consume
  7. Experiences you engage in
  8. Projects you are leading or participating in
  9. Tasks you have agreed to do
  10. Routines, rituals and habits you perform
  11. Foods you eat
  12. Businesses you patronize
  13. Products and services you purchase
  14. Philanthropic causes you support
  15. Communities you are a part of

“The secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and what to keep”.

– The Gambler

Keep what you care about. All the rest is just holding you back.

Top Image by: ND Strupler via Creative Commons on Flickr