I’ve been thinking about giving up. Not in the complete sense of the term. I’ve been thinking about giving up in a smaller way—in a way that recognizes certain things are not working. There is no need to never give up. Sometimes giving up isn’t just the only thing to do, it’s the thing you SHOULD do.
People tell you all the time, “Don’t give up.” Winston Churchill couldn’t STOP saying it. The man seemed pretty obsessed, actually. He famously told a bunch of school children, “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Now Churchill was a brilliant man, but, respectfully, Winston, I disagree.
I’m giving up not giving up. I’m accepting that an aspect of your life, one you were determined to make work, can fail. The sooner you acknowledge a true failure, the better. Giving up makes room in your head and your heart—and some of us desperately need that room. I don’t know about you, but I’m no Winston Churchill.
I don’t mean that people should never try hard. I don’t mean that they should quit when things get rocky and problems begin to mount. I mean they should realize when they are insurmountable, and maybe there’s an entirely different direction to take—one with a river and boat. I mean, maybe they’re just not mountain climbers? Well, I mean, maybe I’M just not one.
Posters say, “Don’t turn your back on your dream!” Well, I say, whether it’s a person or an idea, turning your back on a dream is a great way to protect your soft tissue from injury when it morphs into a nightmare and blows up. Turning your back on your dream sometimes can mean turning your face to your fears. People are always telling you to do that too. See? People aren’t wrong about EVERYTHING.
Sometimes you have a problem or a challenge that you cannot control like a loud neighbor, or a disease, or a Second World War. In certain cases, you have no choice but to wage on until victory, or at least some measure of it, occurs. However, other times a predicament only exists because you’re choosing not to let it cease to do so. If a relationship or a certain path you’ve chosen isn’t working—reassess and if necessary, retreat to move forward. What if Will Ferrell had remained a sportscaster? Or if Isaac Newton hadn’t been terrible at running the family farm, given up, and gone to Cambridge? Or if Walter Disney didn’t give up on journalism (after being fired)?
If Romeo and Juliet had given up, they might’ve (SPOILER ALERT!) made it to 20-something. Maybe Sisyphus should have just walked away from that rock. If the Wet Bandits just gave up after the first time they tried to rob Kevin McAllister, maybe their balls would’ve remained intact. How long should you hammer before you check to see the shape of the peg and the hole?
So I’m giving up. Not on everything, just on a few things in the hopes that it will improve my life, or at least free me up for some new obstacles. I’ve always been terrible about letting things go. And I think it’s time to try a little harder at quitting.