Knowing when to quit

An ancient Chinese proverb says, “of all the stratagems, to know when to quit is the best.”

Centennial College announced last week it is pulling out of the Guild Inn revitalization project that had been in the planning stages for over two years. The project fell through when the city and the college could not come to an agreement on what it should do with the park property.

Despite many attempts to gain approval of the city planners, all of the proposals submitted by the college were rejected.

In today’s society, children are encouraged to never give up. Stories they grow up on include The Little Engine That Could – a tale about a small freight engine that managed to pull a large train over a mountain because of perseverance – and Aesop’s The Tortoise and The Hare. Both stories are the epitome of what hard work can accomplish. They show children that one can accomplish anything he or she sets their mind to.

However, in reality, not everything is so black and white. Continuing to fight for something one wants does not always bring about a solution. Business deals end, couples get divorced, and people quit jobs they don’t like. Centennial College was wise to withdraw funding the project before the school lost any more money from a dream that may have never come to fruition.

It would have been nice to see a restored Guild Inn, but sometimes negotiations just don’t work out. Continuing to spend money on research and new proposals was not beneficial to the school when the possibility of a restored park with a hotel was low.

It’s better to minimize damage than to go “all in” with resources that could be used somewhere else with a more promising outcome.