Yesterday I talked about if giving up is a positive or a negative. TJ made the point that perhaps we put too much stock in the thought that we should persevere no matter what.  Does it really matter if we give up? Is dogged determination worth it?

To start, let’s look at what good old Merriam Webster has to say about “give up”:

  1. “to yield control or possession of”
  2. “to desist from”
  3. “to declare incurable or insoluble”
  4. “to abandon (oneself) to a particular feeling, influence or activity”

When you read the first definition, you can automatically understand why I am anti giving up: essentially it means giving up control, and we all know I like to be in control of everything….. There are things that I don’t give up on because I like to put the universe in order- if I give up I let something/one else win. There’s that competitive spirit in there again…. If I really want something, I just give it my all and go for it.

There are times that tenacity pays off. Electricity, telephones, computers, automobiles….Do you think these inventions were done on the first try? There’s a movie coming out soon about Westinghouse, Edison and Tesla- three men trying to light up the skies. How many failures did they each endure? If they gave up, would we be speaking to one another today, at spots across the globe, over invisible connections? We blog because a whole bunch of people did not give up no matter how many failures they endured. Score one for not giving up.

What about sports? Eli Manning beat the Patriots a few years ago with little time left on the clock. He didn’t look at the clock and say, oh there’s a few minutes left, let’s just pack it in. The team, I think, drove about 80 yards to score with about a minute left in the game. Super Bowl Champs. If they gave up, Tom Brady would have a lot more hardware….

So there are times when clearly, tenacity pays off.

But what about other instances? Instances that occur in the lives of normal people?

Books. Should you stop reading a book that you don’t like? If it’s for pleasure, I say stop reading it. It’s not pleasure if you’re torturing yourself. But if it’s a book for school, or work or book club, read the book. And yes, even for book club you should read the book. If no one ever finishes the books, what’s the point of having a book club? And we all know, it’s a MUCH better discussion when we all hate a book.

Activities. Say you sign up for lessons. Should you quit after one or two? You all know I’m going to say “No”. If you liked something enough to sign up for it, you continue. This is especially true for kids. If you sign up for Little League, you go. Period. It’s not all about you: if you are playing on a team, you go to the practices and the games. End. Of. Story. I don’t care if you are the worst one at something. I. Don’t. Care. No one is good at something from the beginning. It’s a rare person that excels the moment they start something. Prodigies are the outliers. The normal person struggles. If you try something new and you don’t get it right away, you are just like everyone else. Deal with it. Life is not easy. Get used to it.

College. My friend has a child who is a Freshman. A classmate of her child dropped out of school less than three weeks into the semester. What? How? I’m sorry, I don’t know the circumstances, but other than a serious illness, I don’t think you should withdraw from college before you’ve even had a quiz. You’ve already paid: finish out the semester. How did you even give it a chance?

Jobs. How long do you wait it out before you quit a job? Do you quit because you don’t like your boss? Do you quit because you’re not making enough money? Do you quit because you want to be promoted faster than they want you to? When is quitting the sound choice, and when is it unrealistic expectations? Is it reasonable to expect a raise within six months of employment? A promotion within a year? You need to really ask yourself  why you want to jump ship.

Relationships. When do you pull the plug on a relationship? Obviously, some relationships are toxic, abusive and/or unhealthy. But what about relationships that don’t fall under those parameters? What about those unions where you’re just not feeling it anymore? We’ve all seen couples that appear golden, and then one day, you find out they split. Do you ever wonder if those couples gave it a chance (again, assuming there is nothing egregious) If your husband leaves the toilet seat up, or your wife nags about the garbage, are those the reasons to divorce? Do we walk away from relationships too quickly?

What are instances where you should never give up, and which are the ones where the towel should be tossed down?



37 thoughts on “I Give

  1. The rule of thumb I learned on this topic is: it’s okay to give up as long as you understand why you’re giving up and what will change in your life because of it. Following this simple rule I give up without regret.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I give up laundry and school lunches. 😂😂😂😭😭😭

    Each point is unique. I value things we’ve paid for so theoretically I expect them/us to see it through. A shitty environment in a hockey team cost upwards 6k so no, we’re not quitting. We’ll change teams next year. (That was several uears ago.)

    Other things? It depends as you outline.

    I must say I had wanted to quit things and didn’t due to fear of possible outcomes, or financial constraints. I should have quit at the time. One toxic work environment, a casual dating thing that lasted too long for comfort. But I didn’t quit. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I agree with your assessment of what stays and what goes. When to walk away/give up though can be a highly individualized aspect so that has to be taken into consideration as well. I’m a pretty pragmatic person but I also can’t dismiss intuition as a player in certain situations. Sometimes you just “know” what’s appropriate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Because you brought up Eli, I will say that I agree that it is time for a new quarterback. Things change, people change and age, and sometimes people just aren’t willing to recognize it’s time to step aside. This is true in a lot of things in life. Staying on a path just because you’re too stubborn to give up isn’t productive.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A lot of this still ties heavily into the negative association that giving up equals failure and MOST of the time it really doesn’t. Most of the time it isn’t a thing where there are winners and losers, it is just a change in direction or perspective. It is also heavily tied to “what will people think?” Allowing the fear of failure or fear of how others view you should never be a heavy influence in making a decision to let something go. It should always be based on what is genuinely good for you. Letting go of something that doesn’t work for you does not mean that you don’t have tenacity or a drive to succeed either.

    I do firmly believe that if you have committed to something like an activity that involves other people, then you need to do you best to stick out your minimum term for that commitment as long as that commitment isn’t harming you in some way. When it came to my kids and activities, if I paid for it, you finish what I paid for (which didn’t always cover an entire season). I only feel this way because you have agreed to an obligation that other people depend on. A team may not be able to play a game if they don’t have the required number and leaving before the end of the season may mean that season stops for the rest of the team as well. Even with this, though, if this commitment was doing any kind of harm to my kids, physically or emotionally, then I would be behind them all the way on stepping away from it no matter the impact to the other people involved. It is something I’ve learned to do for myself as well.

    As for leaving college so early in the year, some schools have a cut off where you can drop out and still get your money back and not be given a failing grade. Some have a secondary break where you may not get your money back, but they drop the class from your transcripts so you still don’t fail. There are actually reasons why someone would choose to leave at that early stage because I don’t think it is too deep into the semester before you loose either the money or the grade.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know my daughters college is non refundable. They actually sell insurance (not through college, we got this separately) where you get money back if you don’t finish out semester. I’m going to paint this picture slightly differently tomorrow, to see if peoples thoughts change

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a tough question because it obviously depends on the situation. For me, it depends on how much time and energy I have spent on something. I have trouble not finishing books even if I don’t like them but I do “skim” through the rest of the book rather than read word for word but if I’ve given a project I’m working on my best effort and it still doesn’t seem right, I move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This really made me think, I often tell people ‘if your not happy don’t do it’ give up. Then when I thought about how many things I have given up on, I can only think of three. The first my first marriage, (abusive husband and then I didn’t call it a day until he when for our son), second my last job which made me ill, and lastly my sisters. I can’t believe how happy I have been since cutting the ties.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I say to give up when it makes sense to, but to keep pushing through if it’s only your unwarranted doubts keeping you back.

    (Also, did you happen to drop me? Twice now, I’ve wondered where your posts went and found I’m not following your blog anymore.)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a great question, but it’s so hard to answer, because it’s different every time. It depends on the circumstances and the person in those circumstances. I think there’s plenty of times when it might be right for one individual to quit, but it would be a terrible idea for someone else… but that comes down to what the motivation for quitting is and only the person making that choice can know that.

    Liked by 1 person

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