The words give up and quit carry a lot of emotional weight in a society where people are hyper-focused, and hyper-rewarded, by the pursuit of greatness at all cost. Even the less motivated bunch see giving up as a sign of weakness, and can only envy the results of those who "stuck with it."
But thoughts about giving up are not unique to just a few unlucky people on this planet. We're all familiar with times when we can't remember why we started something, when the going gets tough or when things feel stagnant. All of this can make us doubt why we're doing something, or even why we exist.
For some, this nagging thought seems to penetrate the mind no matter what we're doing. For others, it can lead to deep depths of despair, sometimes pushing us to give up on life.
Thoughts of worthlessness or wondering what the point is are not easy to deal with. Today, I'm here to offer my perspective on how I've overcome these thoughts and now see them as not only inevitable, but also totally irrelevant.
Here are two ways I tend to overcome the thoughts telling me to "give up."
First, I recognize that everyone, and I mean everyone, has these thoughts.
Thoughts of giving up are not personal - to you, to me, to anyone. They're universal. They're a product of the human mind. They stem from your ego, the lower aspect of your being, trying to protect itself from unknown territories.
Whenever I have a thought that goes something like, "Just give up. Stop writing. No one is going to read this. No one will like this," my first step is to remember that billions of people have had, are having, or will have that thought. It's not unique to me, so why the heck would I listen to it?
It wasn't always like this for me. I used to give in. Years ago, these thoughts would've been enough for me to not take action. But over time, I realized that I wasn't alone, and the people at the top of their game whom everybody knew about - top athletes, A-list actors, the best of the best - would all have these thoughts too. What a relief knowing that my thoughts didn't mean diddly squat! It should be a relief to you too.
You ought to realize that you have absolute power over the thoughts that occur in your mind, not because you can control them, but because you have a right to not listen. It might be hard not to hear them, but you can certainly learn to choose not to act on them.
Second, I remember that if I stop, I absolutely won't reach my goals.
There's really only one guarantee in life when it comes to your goals: if you stop, then you most certainly will not get to where you want to go.
Nothing else is guaranteed.
There's no guarantee that if you continue, you'll reach your goals. There's no guarantee that if you change your approach, it'll work. The only guarantee is that if you stop, you absolutely will not reach your goal.
For me, this has been a game-changer. When the going gets tough, I always come back to this truth. I may not feel like doing something, but I know good and well that if I stop doing it, I have no chance whatsoever. Why deprive myself of that chance? Is what I'm doing so miserable that I can't enjoy the process? If that's the case, then I need to figure out why I'm not enjoying something, not try harder to get to a finish line.
Whatever adventure you're embarking on, whatever endeavor you're pursuing, make it your point to never stop just because your mind tells you to.
Ultimately, should you choose to stop, make it a conscious, well thought-out decision, rather than you just reacting to the voice in your head telling you it ain't working.
Remember that when your mind tells you to give up, that's your mind trying to keep you safe. That's your ego putting up walls between you and everything it perceives as a threat. But the thing is, freedom is on the other side of those walls.
Start to understand the nature of your mind, and your relationship to it. Over time you'll realize that all it's doing is trying to protect itself, preventing the real you from shining through and achieving whatever goals you might have.
Live with substance!