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Want To Give Up? Not So Fast. Read This.

"There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you had enough."

“I’ve had it, I quit.”

“I am so over this.”

“It’s too hard.”

“It’s not worth it.”

“It was never worth my time.”

Are you? Really?

At some point in time, we have all been there – the moment we hit those crossroads between giving up and pushing forward. In fact, quitting seems to be such common place these days I sometimes wonder if it’s in the water we drink. My intention with this article is to focus on why we do – what we do, when we’re confronted and hopefully you will walk away better informed as to what decision to make the next time you feel like giving up. The three main areas of focus will be:

  • Understanding why you give up
  • The signs to look for in the event you’ve already thrown in the towel
  • What to remember when you feel like giving up

I love this quote:

“There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you had enough.”

Think about that for a moment. Would you know the difference? Is there one?

It’s not as simple as it sounds. We have a penchant for making our lives more complicated and cluttered regardless of intent and this typically shows up in line with the decisions we make (or don’t make). Having enough of something and walking away is fine as long as you can own that decision and feel you gave it 100%. Choosing to leave something less than complete simply because you aren’t worth putting in the time, effort or commitment is an entirely different story.

Let’s take a closer look at my findings and better understand why this happens and what you can do so the next time you’re at a crossroads, so you can confidently choose your next course of action.

Why You Give Up

The Science:

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other experts, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image. The problem is that our brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve. Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. However, in many cases “ego depletion” kicks in which severely limits our self control and willpower to move forward.

Some other and more common reasons:

  • Lack of ownership
  • Give up your power
  • Resist change
  • Fear of failure
  • Not willing to put in the time
  • Not willing to do the hard work
  • Insufficient reward

What To Watch Out For

Common signs you may have already thrown in the towel:

  • You stop giving other people the benefit of the doubt
  • You are overly skeptical (down right cynical) about other people’s intentions
  • You assume the worst about people and circumstances
  • You find it hard to agree with others even when you know they’re right
  • You use passive aggressive words instead of confronting challenges head on
  • You ignore the truth about a situation and always make yourself the victim.
  • You project your own misery and confusion on the activities of others.

What To Do

Here are 5 reminders to consider before giving up:

  • Go Back To The ‘Why’ Occasionally, we start with one vision in mind and then life shows up and we end up moving so far away from why we started that we end up lost and questioning our decisions and actions. Revisit your ‘why’ often to ensure you’re moving forward closer to your goal. Ask yourself: Do I remember why I started and does it still inspire me?
  • Share Your Goals & Increase Accountability The more people who know what you are up to – the better chance you will succeed. If sharing widely is too much for you, find an ‘accountability buddy’ to keep you on track. Make sure the other person will hold you to your commitments. Ask yourself: Do I have the right people and support structure in place to succeed?
  • Acknowledge Challenges Life isn’t perfectly paved but you already knew that. Recognizing the flaws in life’s pavement to success will only bring about a sense of relief and normalization. Acknowledge the challenge, embrace it, and learn what you can from it but never stop moving forward. Ask yourself: What’s the lesson here the universe wants me to learn?
  • Reward Yourself It’s all too easy to forget to take stock in what you “have” accomplished. Taking a moment to celebrate those victories regardless of size instills a sense of accomplishment and confidence in your ability to succeed. Attaching a specific reward for any action(s) achieved has been scientifically proven to increase one’s productivity and mood. Ask yourself: What have I accomplished thus far and how could I reward myself for those actions?
  • Be Persistent Some call it hustle or grind but I call it hard work and persistence. There is a fine line between doing the same over and over again expecting a different result (which by the way is the definition of insanity) versus sticking with something long enough to see it through. Winston Churchill said, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.” Ask yourself: Have you exhausted every possible avenue at this time?

Final thoughts: Remember this, the moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment before the miracle happens. Start experiencing your life filled with more “oh wells” versus “what ifs?” and notice the difference. You will always have more in your tank than you believe, know or think – the key is to understand if you are giving up or you’ve honestly given it 110% and have had enough.

The floor is yours: How do you overcome the fear of giving up?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

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