Never Give Up

never give upToday is Thursday, January 2, 2014.

The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens.  Don’t give up.   –Anonymous

There’s a cute video going around on YouTube and social media where a cute, round-faced little girl sings, “Don’t stop, don’t give up!  Keep trying!  You’ll get it right!”   If she manages to keep that attitude until she reaches adulthood, she will be an unstoppable force.

Whoever authored the quote in the graphic might have read this quote by Harriet Beecher Stowe: “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

I also like this quote from tennis champion Bjorn Borg: “My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.”  I like that because he has a track record to prove his point.

Another person who has a track record behind her statement is Native American activist Wilma Mankiller, who said, “The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.”    Mankiller was the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation, known for reinvigorating her people with numerous community development projects, and she is known also for her work to improve federal-tribal negotiations, which resulted in a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Cherokee Nation.

You’ve probably heard of some of these stories about famous people who failed first, but let me refresh your memory, anyway.  Did you know that Henry Ford went broke five times with businesses that failed until he founded Ford Motor Company?   I’ll bet you never knew that Akio Morita’s first product was a rice cooker that was so bad it burned the rice.  He sold fewer than 100 units.  But he went on to found the Sony company, and you know the rest of that story.

Did you know that both physicist Albert Einstein and inventor Thomas Edison were both considered mentally defective by teachers?   They weren’t defective.  They just had the wrong teachers.

Did you know that Winston Churchill was defeated in every election he ran in until he was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the age of 62?  That makes me happy, because I’m 61 now, and you just never know, do you.

Did you know that Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job in television because she was “unfit for TV”?   Surely the person who said that must have regretted it!

Did you know that Jerry Seinfeld was booed off the stage at his first night club gig?   Or that Lucille Ball’s drama instructors told her to try another career?   Did you know that Charles Schultz, the creator of the Snoopy cartoon had all his cartoons rejected by his high school yearbook staff?  He was even rejected by Walt Disney, who should have known better, because he, himself had been rejected by a newspaper editor who said that he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

never give upJack London, the writer, received 600 rejection slips for his first story.   And Elvis Presley was fired from his first gig, and told he should go back to driving a truck.

Michael Jordan was actually cut from his high school basketball team.  Of his career as a pro basketball player, he says, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

There are so many inspiring stories of people who had one bright, shining goal and never gave up on it.  It’s hard to imagine, with all this solid evidence, why so many people give up, anyway.   Here are some classic reasons why people give up.

1.  They fail to take ownership of a goal.  If you are thinking you’ll just try something and see if it works, it won’t.  You have to completely “own” the goal; in other words, you have to say to yourself, “This will work because I will make it work!”

2.  They don’t understand and accept the time commitment.   Success always seems to take just a little longer than you thought.  Be realistic about your estimate of the time it will take to achieve your goal.

3.  They don’t realize how much effort it is going to take.   It’s always a little harder than you thought to reach your goal.  Unfortunately, just because you understand a concept doesn’t mean it will be easy to put it into practice.  There is no free lunch.  All achievement takes effort.  Lots of effort.

4.  They get distracted.  Some people forget that while you’re trying to meet your goal, other stuff happens.  You have to learn to work steadily at your goals, even if the rest of your life is going crazy.  Problems don’t generally line up and come to us one at a time.  Then gang up on us.  Successful people learn to battle problems on more than one front.

5.  They forget that once they reach their goal, they will have to maintain their new status quo.  This is just as true when you achieve your weight-loss goals as it is when you become a successful writer or entrepreneur.  You can’t go back to your old ways of doing things.  You have to keep on keeping on, or you will lose what you have gained.

6.  They underestimate what they can really do. People sometimes achieve a small goal that could be a precursor to a larger success, but they stop too soon, often because they cannot imagine a future that is substantially different from their present.  Meeting a smaller goal may not change their life much, but attaining the larger goal may upset the applecart pretty thoroughly.  There’s a lot of fear out there.

Look at some of the things you’ve tried to accomplish in your life, and consider not only your failures, but your successes.  When you succeeded, why did you succeed?  When you failed, why did you fail?  Now think about your next goal – and everyone should have a next goal.  How will you incorporate the elements of your successes and avoid the problems you encountered before?

Best wishes for success in all your endeavors!  🙂

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1 Comment

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One response to “Never Give Up

  1. I loved this post! I was surprised that these particular famous people failed before reaching their level of success. I wouldn’t have thought that any of them had ever failed as only their successes are highlighted in the media. Michael Jordan’s quote impacted me the most – his perspective that so much failure can create such glorious success.

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