We can come up with some great ideas – ideas to start a business, write a book, start a non-profit, exercise and eat healthier, go to school etc. We start off strong totally committed giving as much time and energy as possible for a good 3 weeks (some a little less, some a little more). Then, we stop, citing the lack of success or a lame excuse for not continuing – “I don’t have time, I’m tired, maybe it’s not for me.” Finally, we move on to the next great idea.
It’s an endless cycle of start and stop, start and stop never fully completing or accomplishing the original goal. We easily get discouraged and distracted. Frustrated, we give up on what could be the “It’ we’ve been looking for. It’s another step towards living a complacent and unfulfilling life.
The other day I was listening to an interview with Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteredge. She described how year after year, she continued to write regardless of the rejection from publishers. Had she stopped, she would not have become a Pulitzer Prize winner and “Olive Kitteredge” would not be a series on HBO.
What if after her 27th rejection letter, Oprah gave up on her dream of becoming a journalist? The Oprah Winfrey Show would have never existed and she would have not had the opportunity to positively impact as many lives as she has. (you know I have to get in an Oprah story.. Did I mention I love her??? )
What if after the backlash and attacks, Martin Luther King, Jr would have decided, “Maybe this civil rights thing will never happen?” Barack Obama would have never been the President of the US.
What if Cam Newton quit football after his 3rd practice? He would not be on his way to Super Bowl 50.
4 Steps to Not Giving Up
Make a decision, then a commitment
Take some time to decide on what you want to accomplish. Once you’ve made the decision, make a commitment to pursue it at all costs. (Click Here for a Commitment Contract to sign and post as a reminder of your commitment)
Find a support system that will encourage you daily
Everyone can’t handle your “bright ideas”. However, if you’re able to find 1 or 2 people who can support you in your efforts and hold you accountable, you’re more likely to not give up.
Be ok with a slow and steady pace
Success never happens overnight; it takes time. You have to be willing to go through the process enduring the ups and downs. The process can take years, but it’s worth it. Time will pass whether you’re doing something or not. You might as well do something.
Each time you feel like giving up, DON’T!
You will have good days and bad days but don’t let the bad cause you to miss out on the good. When you’re feeling discouraged, list the pros and cons of quitting. I assure you there will be many more pros than cons (if any).
Giving up is the easiest thing we can do because it requires us to do absolutely nothing. However, to find success in any areas of our life, we must keep at it. As Dory in Finding Nemo said, “Just keep swimming!”