“Don’t settle: Don’t finish bad books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.” – Chris Brogan

I used to feel obligated to finish bad books or stay in restaurants I didn’t like. Then I adopted Chris’s rule, which I’ve used for years but recently noticed that he phrased more elegantly than me.

If you don’t like a book (including mine or any other), give it 50 pages max. After 50 pages, you know where things are going. Happy? Keep reading. Not into it? Move on.

Could it get better as you go along? Could you be pleasantly surprised at the end? Sure, of course.

But that’s not the point.

The point is: don’t worry about the opportunity cost. While you’re slogging through the book you don’t like, or trying to find something that you might be able to eat if you tried really hard, there are plenty of other opportunities elsewhere.

Enacting this practice can be huge! I continue to apply it everywhere I go.

Don’t like the phone call you’re on? Hang up the phone.

Don’t like the schedule you made this week? Change it.

Don’t want to deal with bullshit? Stop dealing with bullshit. 

If you want to get on the right path, you first have to get off the wrong one. Don’t be afraid to put that book down, walk out of that restaurant, and find something you like.

Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of PursuitThe $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.

Image courtesy of freestockpro.com.