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”:
- “to yield control or possession of”
- “to desist from”
- “to declare incurable or insoluble”
- “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?