Last night during a conversation with a friend who works for the military here in Trinidad and Tobago, we started discussing the training he did as part of being employed by the military. He mentioned that one of the things said to him on the first day of training was that many of them would not make it to the end, not because they would be asked to leave but because they would give up and choose to leave. It reminded me of the time I started my MSc degree, the same thing was said to us during induction week and by the third month, you stopped seeing some faces. We all have our own source of motivation for doing the things we do and based on the task at hand, our motivation needs to be extremely strong. If the journey we embark upon seems difficult and we have easier alternatives that we considered before hand, it is likely that we’ll give up. A close relative of mine also joined the military in our country as she knew she would be in a much better position to care for her daughter. Her daughter’s well being was her motivation and so she stuck with the training until the end. While it may be easy to judge someone for giving up, I’m more interested in finding out “Why?” they couldn’t hold on any longer and “Why?” they chose an easier road.
We are meant to believe that giving up is a sign of weakness and a sign of failure, but I honestly believe it has its purpose. Knowing if and when to give up on some things and some people are very important. In the case of goals, we may be pursuing a business venture or some project for quite some time without making much headway and we believe that we must accomplish this, as anything less will be deemed a failure. We may have invested so much of ourselves into project or venture that we may have built an emotional attachment to it and may struggle to walk away from it. Knowing when to throw it in will save further heartache and help you to see more lucrative projects or ventures that may be beneficial. In the case of people, I don’t truly give up on them in the same sense but I do maintain my distance while sending positive thoughts their way. Sometimes we stick things out with people because we see the best in them, we see what they could possibly be and we see ourselves adding love and value to their lives to help them excel. If that situation starts to affect your happiness, your peace of mind and your ability to focus on your goals, I think that’s a good time to walk away. To be able to give something, you need to first of all have it in your possession and if you are not happy and centered, you are not capable of giving much of yourself. Knowing when to give up when you have most of the facts will help you build character and improve your decision making capabilities. Always remember, successful people make decisions quickly and are slow to change their minds while failures make their decisions slowly and change their minds quickly.