Most things aren’t impossible, most people just give up too soon.
The number one reason people don’t get what they want is because they give up too soon. That’s a true stat that I just made up, but I would venture to guess it’s not far off. You’ve probably given up on a lot of things before.
- You didn’t get the first job you wanted – so you gave up.
- The first business you started working on failed – so you gave up.
- The first time you went out for a run, you puked – so you gave up.
- The first time you sent in a writing piece, you got turned down – so you gave up.
It could be anything, but chances are whatever it is, it boiled down to this: you didn’t get what you wanted right away so you gave up.
You called it in. You packed it up and you headed home.
STOP GIVING UP.
Perseverance, next to adaptability is the most important skill you can have. And it’s just that, a skill. Like any other skill in the world, you might be born with a more natural ability to persevere than others, but you can learn to stick with things and persevere if you want to. In fact, the one thing that sets people I know who succeed in the long run over the people who don’t is the ability to persevere, keep going and never give up.
The goal of this article is to get you to stop giving up!
Luckily, like everything, not giving up is a skill you can learn. Here are some strategies for never giving up to help you the next time you want to quit.
1. Go Workout
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A long run can clear your mind in ways that few other things can. Same with a solid session of throwing around a lot of heavy weight. Get moving. Go do something different. Push yourself physically. The best way to get past imaginary limits is to make them as physical as possible and then physically smash them into pieces. When you do that it reminds you that the limits that seem so real in your mind, aren’t real at all. When you’re in the weight room, the iron never lies. It shows you exactly who you are and that with solid hard work you can overcome something you used to think was impossible to do.
The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs.
Friends may come and go.
But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds. – Henry Rollins – Iron and the Soul
2. Watch Someone Do Something Impossible
What can you do? You’re just a little tiny person on earth. Good thing people are capable of doing incredible things.
When it feels like you can’t do anything, it can be helpful to be reminded by others who have done amazing things despite the annoying hindrance of being merely human.
- One person can start a movement that changes a country.
- One person went from getting cut from his high school team to the greatest basketball player ever.
- One person helped start Apple – the world’s most valuable company.
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you.” – Steve Jobs
Go watch someone do something impossible. Then go do something impossible yourself. One person can change the world. Be that person.
3. Listen To Your Go-To Song
Everyone needs a good pump up song. I don’t really listen to music much when I’m working out, but I do need the help to get out the door. Find something that works for you. When things start getting hard, pump up the music, put on your headphones and get after it.
This is my go-to song that gets me out of the door when I’m feeling lazy.
4. Climb A Mountain
Sometimes the real reason for quitting is a complete lack of belief that you can actually do the impossible. Show yourself you can actually do it. Go do something ridiculously hard and don’t tell anyone. Climb a mountain and tell no one. Remind yourself what you’re capable of. Then keep going.
5. Find A Door And Go Through It
This video from David Goggins is one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never seen it, go watch it now (I’ll be here when you’re done)
David’s an ultra-marathoner and in the video he describes that throughout certain parts of the race you feel like giving up when you hit a wall. But the wall isn’t the problem – the problem is giving up. When you hit a wall, it’s not the end of the road, you have to keep going. Go parallel right, and parallel left until you find a door in the wall. Once you find that door, you can either give up or keep going. If you want to finish, you have to open that door. When you do, your mind resets and you break through the wall and you keep going.
Find the door, open it and keep going.
6. Be Honest With Yourself
Sometimes you need to lock yourself in a room, and scream at the top of your lungs.
Do that until you turn purple.
Got that out of your system? Good. Then get back to work.
7. Find Someone To Call You Out
Sometimes you have legitimate reasons for wanting to quit. Lots of times you’re simply making up excuses for when things get hard. Find someone who’d going to call you out when you start coming up with excuses. Someone that’s going to call you on your BS.
A lot of friends want to be encouraging and they do it in the nicest way possible, but unfortunately, nice isn’t always a good thing. Honest friends – people who tell you what you need to hear whether you like or not – are rare and while it’s nice to be coddled, sometimes you need to be called out.
If you need someone to call you out, I try to help out with that. Get on the email list for no BS call-outs directly to your inbox.
Sit around. Put your head in your hands. Curl up in a ball. Cry. Feel bad for yourself. Do whatever you have to. Wallow and throw yourself a pity party. But (and this is important) give yourself a time limit for wallowing.
You can’t wallow forever. Give yourself a set time to wallow (preferably not over 24 hours) and then get back to it and do something.
9. Think About Why
Ask yourself, “Why are you doing this again?”
You should have a really good reason. Otherwise, pause, take a break and figure it out.
Then keep going.
10. Just Quit
You don’t have to finish everything. If you’re doing the wrong thing, you should be quitting. But you need to quit the right things – not everything. If you quit everything, you either need to get better at choosing what to start or learn to adapt and perserve more.
It’s also good to note that quitting an activity, doesn’t mean quitting altogether and giving up. If you quit something, do it because you need to focus on something else or do something better. Don’t simply quit because it’s the easy thing to do. Quit because you’re quitting the right thing.
11. Tree Counting
Whenever I do long distance races, there’s always a point where you want to stop. When that happens, I start counting trees. How it works is that while running, you pick out a tree 50 yards in front of you. You tell yourself to keep going until that tree. As soon as you hit that next tree, pick another tree out and keep going. Repeat as necessary.
12. Take Cold Showers
If you want to give up because you’re afraid to take the next step, take 30 days of cold shower therapy and get used to stepping into something you’re scared of and realize that it’s never as bad as your imagination makes it out to be.
13. Forget About It
You got rejected, turned down or met some other minor setback? Forget about it. Literally just forget about it. Move on to something else instead and put that out of your mind.
In my mind sometimes, I think things were really, really easy, because looking back on things I tend to forget all the hard parts. I look at whatever I did and think “well that wasn’t so hard.”
Of course it’s wasn’t now that you’re done with it!
But there were a ton of times along the way that things were difficult, but I just put them out of my head. It turns out, I have a very short term memory of all the times I’ve screwed up, failed, and been rejected. It’s not that they didn’t happen – it’s just that I didn’t let them stop me. I put them out of my mind and kept going, with whatever added wisdom I picked up from that experience.
For example: When I first started writing online, I sent a bunch of samples to a few blogs that I thought were great, only to get rejected time after time after time. I’d spend a week on an article only to get a “no thanks” back from a blog I thought was amazing. So I quit, packed up my laptop ran to my room, cried for a few months and never wrote another thing again, right?
Well, actually I just made my own site and started writing. And I still wasn’t any good. I was bad when I started (really bad), but I’ve gotten less and less bad as time goes on. As I’ve improved I realize those sites that I thought were amazing, weren’t that amazing after all. They were good, and they were right (the pieces I sent them weren’t great) but they weren’t blogging Gods and their judgment of wherever I was at the time, didn’t mean I couldn’t improve and get better. I still get rejected all the time, but I just keep going.
If you’re facing a setback, rejection, or failure, sometimes it’s easy to turn on your short term memory and continue anyways.
14. Reframe Your Story
Reframing your story is one of the most powerful things you can do.
Rethink the lens you’re looking at your life through. Instead of worrying about the struggle you’re in the midst of, remind yourself you’re a character in a story. Characters experience conflict and the conflict you’re going through is part of what’s going to make your story so great in the end.
Your current circumstances are not final outcomes.
Your circumstances define the conflict, but not the final result. The harder the struggle, the greater the story. The more triumphant it is in the end when you overcome the conflict you find yourself immersed in.
When other people give up, you keep going and remember that there’s more to the story than what you’re experiencing right now.
15. Keep Your Head Up.
The crap you’re going to seems so immense because you’re focused directly on it – looking directly into and analyzing every piece of crap that flies your way. When you raise your head up, you look beyond the mess you’re stuck in right now and see the bigger picture and sometimes that’s all you need. Keeping your head up allows you to see the simple solution to the problem that you used to think was ridiculously complex.
16. Realize You Get To Do This
You get the opportunity to do this. To be able to change your life, try something impossible and actually do it. There are people all over the world that don’t get the opportunities you do.
It’s sounds ridiculous, but there are people throughout the world that would kill to deal with the pain and agony of starting their own business, being healthy enough to run a marathon or the freedom to choose what job they want to spend their life doing.
Realizing that most of the world doesn’t get the opportunities you do, lets you take advantage of the ones you have rather than complaining about how difficult they may seem.
17. Make Quitting Not An Option
Just decide that you’re not going to quit. This is so effective, and so simple, but hardly anyone does it. Just decide you’re not going to quit.
No matter what. Period. End of Story.
If you get punched in the face. Keep going. If you go bankrupt. Suck it back up and keep going. If you get laughed at, mocked or pushed down. Just get back up. Get back at it and keep going. Be relentless.
Fall down seven times. Get up eight. – Japanese Proverb
Decide that quitting is not an option and, no matter how many times you fail, it won’t be an option.
There you go, 17 strategies for persevering and not giving up. Now go do something impossible and don’t quit!
Did I miss anything? Any strategies that work for you, that you’d like to add?