If you read any of the major motivational authors, the one common thread you will read is how you have to keep pushing, keep moving forward toward your goal no matter how tired you are, how convinced you are that you might as well give up. The authors can usually give examples of one person who gave up while another pushed through their apparent defeat and found success around the next corner. “Three feet from gold” is such a familiar story that the phrase is now common usage to describe people who give up when they should have, could have pushed just a bit farther and found success.
Have you ever really wanted a goal, worked really hard to get it, but then decided it wasn’t going to happen? If you throw your hands up in the air and say, “I give up!” there is no argument that you gave up. There are, however, many other excuses we use that don’t sound like we are giving up. Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?
- You are working toward a goal, but you need to interact with someone else to achieve your goal. That person, however, does not return your call when they said they would; or their answer is not the one you were hoping for. So you say Fine! Forget it! It sounds like it is the other person’s fault: you tried and they threw the wrench into your works.
- You work and work and work, but still are not seeing really tangible results. You finally lean back and say “It just wasn’t meant to be!”
- You put the research into your goal, you decide what you are going to do with your success, but when you look at your cohorts you decide you do not have the correct skill set so you change your mind and back off.
It may not seem like quitting if you move away from a project with excuses like “It wasn’t meant to be” or “If they can’t give me what I want when I want it, forget it!” or “All those other people know more than me anyways”. I think you still need to take a hard look inward and make sure you are not just taking the easy way out. If you separate yourself from the decision as if the path of retreat was out of your hands or you blame some higher power or other, it is easy to convince yourself that quitting was thrust upon you.
Let’s revisit the scenarios above.
- Why allow someone else to put the kibosh on your dreams or prevent you from reaching your goal? It will be very rare that there is only person who can help you, give you what you need to attain that goal. Looking for a new mentor, finding a new information/product supplier, or waiting a bit longer to hear from a contact may be inconvenient, but it certainly is not the end of the world and might, in fact, open doors you never knew existed.
- If you are the sort of person who believes in fate, or the stars aligning, or some external force determining your life, I would appreciate you leaving a comment below explaining how you know “The Force” has determined you were meant to stop. What sort of sign or message do you receive that clearly means Stop. Not Detour. Not Try Again Tomorrow. Not Repurpose That Idea. Just STOP. (This is not meant discourteously, I really am curious.)
- Hmm. Skill sets. Sounds like a learning curve to me. And if you can create ideas that merit following up on, I believe you have what it takes to learn the necessary skills to implement those ideas. The skill sets of your cohorts should merely be a benchmark from which you can improve.
Next time you are tempted to throw your hands up in the air, throw in the towel, or dissuade yourself from an important goal, stop and really think about what you are saying to yourself. Don’t disguise giving up or blame it on an external entity. If you really feel you are unable to reach a goal, own that thought and stop just long enough to consider if there is some way you can reinvent that dream so you can achieve it.
Dream BIG and go from there!