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Monday, March 30, 2009

Giving Up!

Many people feel that giving up is failure. One can blame King Robert the Bruce of Scotland for this behavior. Fortunately for them, both the spider as well as the King Robert the Bruce of Scotland succeeded in their seventh attempt. Unfortunately for all of us, King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, the loudmouth that he was, told the story to everyone who cared to listen.

It wasn’t long before the story became folklore, notwithstanding the possibility that maybe the spider was just having a nice swing in the cave and King Robert the Bruce of Scotland thought that he was trying to go to the other side of the cave to spin a web. The spider saw this man staring at him and was probably pissed off at the intrusion into its privacy and decided to go to work.

Right from childhood people are being taught that they ought to try, try and try again. Don’t give up, they say. But everyone conveniently forgets to teach people about judging the necessity of the task as also to understand their own limitations. It is important to be focused and determined, but in the process one should not lose touch with the reality.

First, the necessity of the task. One has to decide whether he/she really wants what they are trying to do. Okay, at work it might be something that has been ordered and one has to follow it up. In that case, it is the responsibility of your immediate boss, who has assigned you the work and all the effort you are putting and the time you are wasting is at your boss’ or company’s expense. So let’s not get that into the discussion. But otherwise, in your personal matters, it is you who has to judge whether what you are trying to do is rational, whether you really want that thing more than anything else, whether the benefits of carrying out the task and achieving the objectives include something more than mere satisfaction. The internal debate on the acceptance of the necessity should always be the first step and will generally give you a clear perspective of the issue. If you are convinced, then go ahead otherwise give up the idea.

After you have accepted the necessity of the task, the second step is to undertake a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This will give you a crystal clear idea about the chances of succeeding at the task and the aftermath. Suppose you decide to ‘teach a lesson’ to your spouse or child, there is the weakness element of you loving them and chances are that you will first give in and then give up. There is also the threat of messing up the relationship for ever. Similarly if you are 40 and still dreaming of becoming Miss or Mr World, you are not going to get the opportunity to achieve it. In both cases you are setting yourself up for failure in the short as well as the long run. I wouldn’t even think of wasting my time and energy on such things. If such wild thoughts are running in your mind, give them up now.

Once you have decided that the task is necessary and achievable, there is one more little thing that you need to do before you embark upon the task. Define boundaries, in terms of time, space, effort, energy, money, results etc. How much are you willing to put in and how much are you going to be happy with. If you are planning to learn playing the guitar, how much time have you at your hands, how much money are you willing to spend and how much learning are you going to be happy with. Will it stop at being able to pick up other people’s tunes or do you want to compose your own? If you have clearly defined goals and an idea of resources available you will know when to stop and give up.

Introspection and self appraisals throughout the activity are very important. Keep your mind free of pre-conceived notions and convictions. You don’t have to finish everything you start. If you are not getting anywhere, give up. Something better will come along. If you have learnt the Guitar for three months and then realized that you like the piano better or maybe that you’d like spending more time with your family, give up the Guitar.

It’s not meant to be. They say that if you want something bad enough, the entire universe conspires to help you get that. So how difficult can it be for the universe to deny you something that you are not destined to get. There are times when this is the case and irrespective of your efforts you just wouldn’t get anywhere near your objectives. Don’t waste your life chasing something that is not meant to be yours. Give up.

Amitabh Bachchan auditioned for All India Radio and was rejected. Had he followed the advice of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, he would have succeeded and probably spent his life reading sordid news stories. He gave up and look where he is now.

Giving up does not necessarily mean failure. At times it means the understanding of situations and what one can do without. At times it means entirely justified changing of priorities. Giving up, at times, opens new horizons, presents new opportunities and releases one from an awful amount of burden of expectations. The best part about giving up is you can do it anytime. Give up something today and be happier.

Here, I give up writing any further on this topic.


Anonymous said...

Giving up is not necessarily failure, and you are right it gives you a chance to try it again. My advice is to establish your goals in life, and choose the ones that will build your self esteem and confidence, then go on to higher set goals. To reach success with goals, you have to have the right mindset and determination to reach success. More tips for reaching your goals and a way to work on your goals at

Unknown said...

definitely never give up to again set your goals and work hard with confidence
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