The Happiness Connection  

Winners quit?

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
— Thomas Edison

This is just one example of how our culture honours perseverance. There were dozens of quotes for me to choose from.

“When you’re going through hell, keep on going. Never, never, never give up.” — Winston Churchill

Is there ever a time when this sentiment doesn’t apply?

My parents will be celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary on Friday. I can see them swell with pride every time they get congratulated about it. It’s as if staying married defines them as good people.

Perhaps I’m more sensitive to this anniversary pride because I gave up on my 30-year marriage. Should I feel like I’m weak or less than because I didn’t persevere? These accolades seem to say that you’re better to stick it out together, even if you make each other miserable.

Of course, I’m sure most of us say our wedding vows believing we will be together for forever. I know I did. But what if that doesn’t happen? Should you feel ashamed because you couldn’t achieve the marital dream?

Traditionally, marriage has been viewed as a bed you make, and then lie in for the rest of your life. Till death do us part.

My dad’s parents separated when I was a young child. I grew up feeling embarrassed about it. I tried to avoid telling anyone the awful truth. My grandma rarely came to visit, so I hoped that when my grandpa appeared, people would assume he was a widower.

I was ashamed that my grandparents hadn’t lived up to their responsibility of staying together regardless of the situation.

Marriage is just one place where society smiles on those who don’t give up. It doesn’t matter the goal; the advice is to keep going until you succeed.

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” — Japanese proverb

Giving up isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It depends a lot on the energy behind your decision. Why are you giving up? Thinking it’s too much work is very different to believing you’re hitting your head against a brick wall.

It’s important to get up when you’ve been knocked down, but it’s also good to know when enough is enough. When is giving up a good decision, and when is it a cop out? The only person who can answer that in your life, is you.

I recently completed my 66 Days of Possibility experience. I wanted to focus on looking for opportunity rather being limited by my thinking and habits. Each day, I went live on social media to share my thoughts about what I was discovering.

Who knew that 66 days could feel like eternity? When I finished, one friend asked me if I was tempted to give up before I got to the end. Absolutely.

The first three weeks were fine, but at some point, during the fourth one, I began to lose momentum. I hadn’t expected to feel so drained.

I seriously considered giving up, but discarded that idea. I’d be stopping because it was hard, and I was tired. In my head that wasn’t a good enough reason. Instead, I decided to make a minor adjustment.

On day 31, I shared my struggle and my choice to complete the rest of the challenge on week days. I still focused on possibility on the weekends, but I didn’t share it on social media, or count those days as part of the experience.

This change made it possible for me to complete the challenge.

How do you decide whether you should stay the course, make an adjustment, or throw in the towel? Here are a few things to consider.

  • If the idea of giving up floods you with relief, this may be a sign worth noting.
  • If what you’re doing is making you unhappy, think carefully about whether continuing is your best option. Your mental wellness is important.
  • Remember that giving up can take a lot of strength. It isn’t necessarily the easy way out.
  • If quitting seems like the easy option, perhaps you should reconsider. Perseverance brings lots of learning opportunities with it.
  • Don’t keep going because you’re afraid of losing face or having your pride wounded. If external validation is your motivation, you may be wasting your time and energy.
  • If you feel stuck, consider your options. Pivoting could be just what you need to get moving again.
  • Giving up because you feel afraid or helpless is not an empowering energy. Consider finding some support for how you feel before you decide to quit.
  • Listen to your intuition and trust that it will give you guidance. If you’re feeling pulled to one option or the other, listen.

If you choose to stop, don’t beat yourself up for your decision. Move forward. According to Seth Godin’s book The Dip, winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt. They don’t go all in until they’re satisfied they’re moving in the right direction.

When you get to that point listen to the quotes. Don’t let anything keep you down.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” — Dale Carnegie

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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