When do you stop?

I’m away at a parkour event this weekend, lots of walking and playing and jumping. One session was a discussion of fear, and of consequences. And one particular question for discussion was, “When do you stop?” People raised lots of ideas—good ideas, wise ideas… lots of things I was in agreement about.

But I was also thinking, “Wait. Why do I have to decide that?”

I know I’ve certainly faced decisions about stopping. Work, play, relationships, sports, parkour practices (ask me about the time I climbed across a train station outside of Paris,) … yes, deciding if, when and why to stop is an obvious question.

If I think about two paths—perhaps diverging in the woods, if you like that imagery—an hour’s hike along the path of one choice, I might decide I’m going the wrong way. There’s one of those when-to-stop decisions. But the mistake was an hour before, where the paths diverged.

This business venture: what if I had truly been committed, and had planned clearly the way we’d know when to stop? The question is gone. This relationship: could it be planned, or could two people be so honest, that the question doesn’t appear? This parkour jump, at the end of an exhausting day of training: why am I standing here, right now? If I’d planned better, could I have gotten all the same benefit, but a few minutes before right-now, I’d have moved to something else?

Might it be possible to still have challenge, commitment, growth, love, spontaneity, and humor… without ever having to decide, “should I stop this now?”