Is It OK to Give Up?

There’s countless phrases encouraging us to keep on going when the chips are down. We’re told to ‘stick it out’, that there’s ‘no pain, no gain’ or that we shouldn’t just give up or ‘throw in the towel.’

Ideally, we’d like to put on a brave face and persevere with our goals or dreams that we’ve announced to the world, but what if we don’t want to keep going anymore? What if, on the journey to that goal or dream, you find out that it’s not the right one for you? Maybe you’ve learned a lesson and can see yourself taking a different route.

Steve Pavlina, author of Personal Development for Smart People, says that while perseverance is a great trait to achieving your goals, there’s no honour in clinging to a goal that no longer inspires you. “Persistence is not stubborness,” he says. “If you’re growing at all as a human being, then you’re going to be a different person each year than you were the previous year. And if you consciously pursue personal development, then the changes will often be dramatic and rapid. You can’t guarantee that the goals you set today will still be the ones you’ll want to achieve a year from now.”

The guilt and disappointment you feel for not completing a task may be hard to initially overcome. In fact, Pavlina says that he had always believed one should never give up, that once you set a goal, you should hang on to the bitter end, but adds, “Eventually I figured out that this is just nonsense. Sometimes new goals are so compelling and inspiring that there’s no time to complete old ones – they have to be abandoned half-finished.”

While it’s all well and good to stop pursuing your old goals in favor of new and improved ones, it’s important to remember that any goal worth achieving needs persistence. Motivation will wax and wane like waves hitting the shore, but persistence will keep you taking action when you don’t feel like pressing on. And if you want the goal but feel like quitting because it’s too hard? Pavlina says, “Persistence will ultimately provide its own motivation. If you simply keep taking action, you’ll eventually get results, and results can be very motivating.”

Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina is available at all leading retailers. CLICK HERE for more information.

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