For years I struggled with what other people thought of me, how I dressed, what I said and what I did were all subjected to the scrutiny of what I thought other people thought. Fast forward to today and I can see how I tortured myself emotionally and sabotaged my future.
We’ve all had those moments when you just want to throw in the towel. Lots of work with very little results or worse, you realise you don’t know why you are doing something anymore. Sometimes you get work overload and feel like you are drowning in all the things that need to be done or worse, the work you have to do doesn’t challenge you.
These are the moments when we feel like giving up…
Feeling this way isn’t wrong, it’s your emotions, mind and body reacting to your situation. The trouble is when you feel one way, it jades the way you view the world. You cannot process your situation objectively.
Has your idea not worked out as expected?
Has your career taken a turn for the worse?
Do you feel overloaded by the workload your dealing with?
Did the world once seem a place of endless opportunities but now seems full of obstacles?
Thomas Edison once said “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” That is certainly true for him, as he suffered many setbacks as an inventor. Eventually after countless setbacks and disappointments, he mastered the electric light bulb.
What many will not know though is that Edison invented a lot of things which didn’t work and struggled with the growth of his business. He was at his best in a small lab testing and inventing things. After several successful inventions his business grew to a large organisation. He struggled to adapt from being a quirky, unstructured inventor, to the head of a large company. He stepped outside of his skill set.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a good challenge, but stepping outside of your skill set can be dangerous. You can make unwise decisions, overwhelm yourself and worse not understand the risks you are taking.
Coming back to Edison, he had an understanding of giving up far better than we do. If he had given up on the light bulb, we would probably not even know his name. However, Edison also turned down a lot of options to pursue his light bulb dream.
Here are some of my thoughts on giving up:
Giving up should not be an emotional decision.
Emotions tell lies, twist the truth and serve only themselves. As humans it’s impossible to make decisions without the involvement of emotions. Keep your emotions under control and make decisions when you feel you are a clear head. Make sure you provide evidence for both sides of the argument and make a decision based on what you see.
Giving up should not be a financial decision.
There is a lot of evidence of great achievers going broke or risking everything to pursue their passion. At the time they faced criticism and looked like idiots. They eventually made it, but had to pursue it through painful situations which to anyone who understands accounting, would not make sense. Richard Branson started a business from a payphone, he got into financial difficulties and nearly didn’t make it. EasyJet for many years was seen as a business that could not work, now it’s one of the larger and more successful airlines.
If you decide to give up or not, you should not just consider the financial implications, there are lots of other things to consider, such as quality of life, your life goals and your health. BUT and it is a big but, you must make the decision to give up or not understanding the financial implications.
Giving up should not be a short term decision.
Setbacks happen to us all, if you have had a bad week and feel like giving up, you need to grow some more willpower. Life is complicated and stuff happens. Make sure you take a longer term view than this week, this month. Start looking for this year, the next year and the next ten years.
Giving up should be a strategic decision.
Does giving up help you progress and follow your goals. Will it help you move forward? Enough said.
Giving up should be a move forward.
If you are giving up because of something, it’s probably the wrong decisions. If you are giving up for something, then it may make sense. That wasn’t just a play on words. Are you running from something or running to something?
Don’t give up by default.
It’s really easy to not make a decision on giving up and give up by default. This is the worst kind of giving up because you surrender control to your environment. You let things happen.
Giving up can be good if there are good reasons, but you have to work out if you have good reasons. You can’t be held hostage to emotions or circumstances. Nobody can give you the answer, you have to research it for yourself. You can make a good decision to give up and a good decision to not give up if you weigh the situation properly.
What about you?
I learned about this trick for achieving goals from a brilliant guy, Brian Tracy. Brian is an expert in business sales and self-development. You can find many of his videos on YouTube and I recommend them to you.
The big problem with setting goals is being able to remember to keep them. So here is my step by step guide learned from Brian.
My experience of goal setting has been amazingly productive and has focused my energy and mind to really work to achieve what is important to me.
Write don’t type.
There is something very powerful about writing your goals, aims and objectives down on paper. Evernote and other apps which help you note things down on the go are brilliant but writing things down has been proven to be a more effective way to be able to remember what you have noted down.Each week, try to re-write your goals.
Re-write them often.
When I learned to drive, I was taught the following rule “what you focus on, is where you will go”. This rule seems to apply to every aspect of life, not just behind the wheel of a car. Focus and make your goals a prominent aspect of you thoughts and it will influence your outlook and decision-making. I did this exercise in 2011 and wrote down my goals in detail, quantified and specific. I did this over and over throughout the year. The benefit of doing this, is that it firmly places these goals into our subconscious. Our minds behind the scenes are working away on these and this influences our daily behavior.
Make small steps daily.
If we can all make one tiny step each day towards achieving one or all of our goals, by the end of the year, we will have made huge progress. If we can make huge progress in a whole year. Very often people at this time of year set very ambitious goals but then try to make giant leaps toward the goals in a small time span. We are creatures of comfort and whilst taking massive action can be good, it takes enormous willpower which often cannot be sustained over a longer period of time. Little steps every day will be easier to achieve and you a setback can easily be overcome.
Milestones and the Snowball effect.
The snowball effect we have all seen at some point. You start with a handful of snow and roll it around on the ground until it gets bigger and bigger. This is true for our goals. It starts with little steps but then momentum begins to work for you and your progress accelerates, so that day by day for progress is more significant.
If you are trying to grow your income, it could be really tough to gain the first £5000 of extra income, but the next £10,000 could be much easier. Using the snowball analogy, eventually that small piece of snow might get really big and heavy. It’s at those times you have to muster every bit of strength to move that snowball. By this time though, your progress has been so significant, you are achieving 10 times more than you were when you started out. Sometimes there are glass ceilings you have to just smash through. In business there are milestones and challenges which seem tough barriers to break. Some of the barriers you have to break require huge amounts of energy, drive and determination. Some goals get easier to achieve as you pass certain milestones. It’s easier for a business turning over £100,000 to grow their sales by £10,000, than for a start-up business to get their first £10,000 of sales. Some Milestones seem to have an Ogre with them that doesn’t want to let you pass.
Shoot for the stars and land on the moon.
I listed my goals down in January 2011, after about 6 months or so, I forgot about the routine of writing my goals. Over the Christmas period of 2011, I opened up my notebook and began looking at the goals. As I went through them, I realised that, despite neglecting the goals after a few months, I had hit or came close to achieving them all. Sometimes it makes sense to shoot for the stars, because we know, at the very worst we will hit the moon. Remember, what you focus on is where you will go. If we are not fully focused, we may make incredible progress but fall short of the actual goal. Sometimes it’s good to set the goal a little higher.