Conventional wisdom tells us that there is no greater evil than giving up. This messages comes at us from every direction, from the time we’re kids. We’ve been preached to about resilience and perseverance, but somehow, not discernment. We don’t talk about how brave you have to be to give up, how much of your ego you have to step over, the somber acceptance that you can’t fight your way into everything.
More people suffer because they’re unable to let go than because they’re unable to try harder.
Hard work is a virtue for obvious reasons. But it should not devastate you. If you have to try too hard, you’re doing the wrong thing. There’s a difference between being challenged and fighting against the current, and it mostly has to do with whether you’re thriving or suffering in the process.
Here’s something else nobody will tell you: you’re not meant to do what you love. You’re meant to do what you’re skilled at. Imagine a doctor with a low IQ but a lot of “passion.” Life isn’t just about how much pleasure you can get from something. What’s more important is what you have to give. Think about that phrase: what you have to give – what’s already within you. If your period of being stuck, or uninspired, spans well beyond a normal, bearable dry spell, it probably means something… which is that you should try something else.
You see this a lot with creative people who find it difficult, if not impossible, to be creative every day. Writer’s block is not real. Genuinely creative people can do their work as often as they need and want to, and we know this because these kinds of people exist all around us. The problem with creatives who can’t create is their ego. They falsely believe that because they “love” something, they’re “meant” for it. But when it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work…
And the bravest god damn thing you can do is give up and find what does.
It’s not that you shouldn’t have to try, it’s that it should be relatively easy to work hard, which sounds like a contradiction until you know what I’m talking about: your relationship should be challenging, not heartbreaking. Your work should be difficult, not impossible.
It’s not that people can’t recognize this. They know when they’re suffering. It’s that they won’t choose the scarier thing: to give up. Giving up is brave because it requires living in the unknown. But until your life is empty – free – of what’s wrong, you will not be able to make space for what’s right. You will not be able to put your time, energy and love in the right direction.