Voice & Exit: Which Do You Choose?

April 5, 2017By
Old Exit Sign

There’s two ways you can approach life: Voice & Exit. ~ Bod Luddy

I’m always kind of looking at different videos and articles and things like that.

Some time ago I came across this video about a private school in North Carolina.

Now, we don’t have to get into the discussion of private education and public education.

But right away in the video, businessman Bob Luddy, says something that really struck me. It’s that quote above.

The idea of voice & exit.

In Luddy’s experience, exit has been the best option when it comes to results.

What You Don’t Like

Some time ago we looked at how Jerry Seinfeld views innovation.

His takeaway on life is that one needs to be aware of things that they don’t like.

In Seinfeld’s case, he didn’t like talk shows. The format was stale to him. He just didn’t like it.

Seinfeld, whether he thought about it this way or not, had the two options that Luddy talks about: Voice or Exit.

Seinfeld created his own show that did some innovative things with the talk show. It’s, by many accounts, been a success.

Seinfeld took a form of exit.

He didn’t sit around and complain about talk shows. Well, maybe he did some of that. But eventually he settled on exit. He stopped watching. He stopped participating. He stopped giving his energy to voicing his opinion.

Instead, he just exited the status quo and started his own thing.

Our World Today

It would be easy to look at life as having little opportunity. Yes, there are bad things in the world. Yes, we’re probably more divided as a world than ever.

But isn’t that where opportunity exists the most?

That’s where Luddy is coming from with his idea of Voice & Exit.

Many people today get caught up in voicing their opinions.

But what does that really accomplish?

You lose energy. You probably get more riled up and angry with the world. You either get frustrated because others don’t agree with you or frustrated because the world doesn’t become what you think it should become.

This death loop can and does drive people crazy.

Some do make some progress. Usually it’s with force. They make others do what they want through means of pressure and force.

But others look for ways to exit.

A Difficult, But Rewarding Path

Exiting is obviously a difficult path.

Starting a private school is a big undertaking.

But you can see in the video above the reward that Luddy gets. And you can see the reward the students and the parents get as well.

There’s a big payoff with exit. You might even get more than you ever dreamed when just voicing your opinion.

Wasted Energy

I know a businessperson whose opinion and wisdom I really trust.

Quite a few years ago they were talking about business and life and kind of off the cuff they said that they didn’t like to pay attention to things that wasted energy in life.

They mentioned a few things like caring about what other’s think and voicing opinions and a few others.

He said there are a lot of things a person can use their energy on in life. He said that it seemed the ones that were most successful and the most fulfilled were the ones that knew how to use their energy the best.

Luddy could have voiced his opinion about education. He could have riled up some support. He could have held rallies and gone to town hall meetings with politicians and all kinds of things.

But would public education have really changed?

And even if it would have changed would it have been an improvement?

Instead, Luddy knew he only had so much energy to give. He focused on making a difference in a tangible way. And he did it.

Final Thought

Voice and Exit come down to energy and results.

The next time you’re faced with a decision in life think about what result you want, what you really want and know that you only have so much energy to give.

See if voice or exit is the best decision.