A friend of mine told me that, after looking at his results on a project, that he wanted to give up. After listening to him, I told him I knew how he felt, because I did. There have been many times in my life where I didn’t think I was getting the results I thought I should have and have become disappointed and quit.
One time that still haunts me to this day is from junior high school. I played the saxophone in the band and my friend Ronnie and I always were in competition for first chair. In a concert at a local elementary school, my friend Mike and I did something stupid, and we were suspended from band for a month, and I was told that I wouldn’t be considered for first chair for the rest of the year. As a result, I decided to give up playing in the band. This turned in to a recurring pattern for me for many years afterwards and one that I found difficult to change.
This habit led me to giving up on things I could have succeeded at IF I only would have persevered a little more. Thankfully, eventually I learned how change this habit using the processes we’ll talk about today.
The Importance of Persistence
Ted Williams, baseball’s greatest hitter of all time, once said, “Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it.”
His advice is spot on. One of the most important rules regarding success is that you can’t give up easily. Success does not come without navigating the bumps in the road. You will always have obstacles to overcome, and if you give up too soon, you’ll never accomplish the great thing you have inside you.
Roy T. Bennett once said, “Keep Going. Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.” Take a moment and think about the least and most successful people you know. I can guarantee you that these successful people are very perseverant. Once they set their minds on accomplishing something, they simply will not give up unless the feedback they get causes them to rethink their goal. Even then they aren’t giving up, just learning from their feedback.
On the other hand, unsuccessful people give up quite easily.
Are things tough? Here’s some things to do instead of giving up:
1. Take a break.
After unsuccessfully wresting with a problem for a while, sometimes the best thing to do is to simply take a break. Walk away for a while and see if you can find a different perspective. This break might mean taking an hour, a day, or a week or even more away from your goals so you can catch your breath, regain your composure, so you can find a more effective way of solving the issue.
2. Get advice.
Okay, in the past, this has been a tough one for me. But what I’ve found is that when something isn’t working, the advice of an expert can be extremely helpful and can save a lot of time.
We don’t know what we don’t know. Often, it’s extremely possible that your approach just requires a little tweaking and a coach can see exactly what needs to be done. Your coach might also provide you with a more effective way of approaching the issue. Advice from the right person can save you a lot of time and make a big difference.
3. Learn from your feedback.
Thomas A. Edison one famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” When a filament didn’t work for his incandescent light, he learned from the feedback his experiments provided him with and tried something else.
You can use this same method for issues you face. If nothing is working, while you can get advice (see #2) you might also consider taking the time to educate yourself on what you’re trying to accomplish. Often, a little more knowledge can be the cure for your current struggles. As you get feedback, decide to learn from it, get a little more knowledge and then apply what you learn.
4. Develop a new plan.
This has a lot to do with # 3. If what you ‘re doing isn’t working, perhaps it’s time t take a new approach. Again, this is learning from your feedback.
As Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” In other words, while it’s important not to give up too soon on your current methods, it doesn’t help you if you try to stick it out for too long once it becomes obvious that it isn’t working.
The key takeaway here is when one plan isn’t working, another plan might be the exact solution you’re looking for. It might also be telling you that it might be time to try something altogether new.
5. Give a little more.
I once heard Denis Waitley say, “The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply.” He’s right.
Usually, the reason people give up is because they think they’re working too hard for the results they are getting. But you have to be willing to give more to succeed. Ask anyone who has run a marathon, or completed any type of endurance test. You’ll never finish unless you’re willing to give a little more effort, especially near the end.
Sometimes the solution to your challenge is you need to double your efforts and grind it out. While this isn’t necessarily enjoyable, the most successful people use this tactic to work through their most difficult challenges.
6. Rekindle your motivation.
Are you losing your motivation?
Sometimes you just got to dig back into why you’re doing what you do.
Here are some ways to refocus on your why:
- Create a vision board.
- Use visualization to see yourself being successful.
- List all the benefits you’ll receive when you reach your goal in your journal and read them to yourself once a day.
- Get a coach who understands your dreams and uses them to builds you up.
- Listen to music or watch a movie that inspires you.
7. Get to the root of why you want to give up.
Are you tired? Maybe you need to take a break (see #1) Are you running short of a particular resource such as time, money, or another set of hands? Maybe you could take out a small loan or hire a virtual assistant.
Is it taking longer than you expected? Perhaps you need to recalibrate your timetable. Are you confused? Maybe you need to take a look at your goals to help you refocus.
Whatever the root cause is, determine why you want to give up and look for a solution that can resolve the issue.
Use these tips to Stay Focused and Persist
Giving up is common among average people, but you don’t want to be average, do you? You are going to run into obstacles in your life, but instead of becoming frustrated or stressed and deciding to give up, use one of the above strategies to stay in the game because you can’t win if you don’t play!
If more people would resist the urge to give up, more people would be significantly more successful. Learning how to deal effectively with the urge to quit is an important skill to develop. I was 14 years old when I decided to quit the band but since then I’ve learned how to use these strategies to keep me focused on achieving my goals. Since then, I’ve learned that there are plenty of better options than giving up.