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Essays On Giving Up

Robert Schuller

Great people are just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination.


Putting Your Problems into Perspective

Life always seems to present us with innumerable challenges and problems on a daily basis. It throws left hooks when we were expecting right ones; it gives us apples when we desire oranges; it even presents us with seemingly awful surprises that we weren’t expecting, and it bloats us with unresourceful emotions that tend to tie us down to a life of mediocrity and unhappiness.

Despite all this, it is not so much what happens to us that actually makes a difference, it is rather what we do with what happens to us that determines where we will end up, what we will have, and how we will be transformed by our experiences.

This IQ matrix and article delves into the details of the problems and obstacles that we face on a daily basis, providing us with a means to get through the lowest moments of our lives when everything seems to be falling on top of our heads.

Throughout this article, we will first identify the different faces of the obstacles, problems, and challenges that you may face on a daily basis. After which we will take a look at the reasons behind these obstacles and what they really mean to your life and future endeavors. Thirdly, we will work on developing a resilient mindset that will help you push through any challenges that life presents you with. And finally, we will discuss how to create unstoppable momentum that will guide you towards the attainment of your most passionate goals and objectives.


Never Give Up… Here Come the Obstacles

It is very easy to strive towards the attainment of our goals and objectives when the oceans are calm and nothing appears to be standing in our way. However, if we are not mentally prepared the moment something begins to stir the waters and rock the boat from side-to-side, we begin to panic and struggle to deal with our circumstances. We see these problems and challenges as larger than life and way beyond our capabilities and means.

These events may very well end up overwhelming us and causing great heartache and hardship. As a result, we may end up quitting and throwing in the towel of defeat, all because our resolve wasn’t strong enough to handle the burden associated with our journey towards the attainment of our objectives.

Within this section, we will take a look at the possible obstacles that may stand in our way as we progress along the path towards fulfilling our dreams. These obstacles essentially come in four distinct forms:

  • From within ourselves
  • Extending from our decisions and actions
  • Directed by other people
  • Originating within circumstance

Let’s now take a closer look at each of these in more detail:

The Obstacles Within Us!

Probably the toughest and most challenging obstacles that we face come from within ourselves. These obstacles are extremely challenging to overcome because in many instances we are simply blinded to their existence.

Your first objective is to identify these obstacles and endeavor to understand how they are affecting your life and perception of reality. Secondly, you must learn to deal with them in an effective and resourceful way that will once again help move you in the right direction.

Let’s now take a closer look at each of these obstacles in a little more detail.

Lack of Desire

A lack of desire means that you simply do not have enough emotion behind your actions. It means that the goals and objectives that you are working towards are not yet emotionally important enough. As a result, when obstacles come your way, you will not have the emotional reservoirs available to successfully deal with these challenges, and you will therefore likely succumb to your predicament without putting up a fight.

Lack of Self-Belief

When belief is lacking, you have very little hope of achieving anything of significance in your life.

The very moment an obstacle comes racing across your path, your lack of belief will manifest in two ways.

First, it will manifest as a lack of belief in yourself. Intrinsically you do not believe that you are good enough or worthy enough to achieve your goals and objectives.

Secondly, your weak belief systems result from not having enough confidence in your personal ability to successfully get through an obstacle in your path. As a result, you lack the will-power to persist when things get a little tough and somewhat unfamiliar.

Lack of Commitment

A lack of commitment is somewhat related to a lack of desire. However, when it comes to commitment it pretty much stems from your inability to manufacture enough whyreasons to move you through the obstacles that stand in your way.

If you are unable to generate enough reasons to get you through an obstacle, then you will likely quit when the going gets tough.

It is also important to realize that your commitment levels are directly connected to the expectations that you initially formed when you began your journey towards the attainment of your objectives. If along your journey you are not meeting your expectations, then your commitment will waver and you will be more likely to quit in the face of adversity.

Asking too Many WHY Questions

‘Why’questions are self-sabotaging programming tools that focus you on your inadequacies and weaknesses.

When things start to get a little challenging, and externally it begins to appear as though you are fighting against a losing cause, then ‘why’questions will put the finishing touches on a journey filled with regret and unfulfilled objectives. The moment you start asking yourself…

Why does this always happen to me…?

Why do I always fail…?

Why is this always so difficult…?

Why is life always against me…?

…is the moment you should effectively pack up your bags and leave the Big Brother House. 😉

These questions are self-sabotaging forces that will put you into a state of regret and emotional weakness. Avoid them at all costs.

Focusing on What ‘Don’t Want’

Whenever you are focusing on your problems, obstacles, and uncontrollable circumstances then you are at that moment focusing on things you don’t want in your life.

It is said that whatever you focus on will expand and envelop you in a new reality. Therefore, if you continue to focus on the things that you do not want, this will effectively expand the things you do not want in your reality.

All your thoughts, actions, behaviors and decisions will create an unresourceful state of weak-thinking that will likewise continue to sabotage your progress towards the attainment of your goals and objectives.

Being Riddled with Negative Emotions

A negative emotion is basically an emotion that puts you into an unresourceful state, which discourages action and effective decision making.

The emotions of worry, anxiety, doubt, overwhelm, anger, and guilt all work together to create a powerful self-sabotaging cocktail that will hypnotize you into a state of self-pity, that will likewise prevent you from achieving your goals and objectives.

Being Riddled with Fears

Over time, our negative emotions usually turn into uncontrollable fears that direct and dictate our daily decisions and actions. These fears will rob you of your life essence and desire to successfully move past the obstacles that stand in your way.

The fears of rejection, responsibility, success, and failure will leach and drain your energy of the life essence you need to attain your goals and objectives.

Being Riddled with Excuses

All the above mentioned self-sabotaging forces naturally feed the excuses that we build up within ourselves over time.

There would be no reason to make excuses if the above-mentioned forces weren’t directing our behavior. Yet, it is important to understand that in some ways our excuses are blessings in disguise, as they provide us with an insight into the self-sabotaging forces that are dominating our current reality and process of thinking.

Pay attention to the excuses you continuously make and identify where exactly they originate from. Identification is the first step that will set you on course towards taking control of your emotional responses. Ask yourself:

Do my excuses come from a lack of desire?

Do they come from a lack of self-belief?

Do they manifest as simply a lack of commitment on my part?

Am I making excuses because I’m asking too many ‘why’ questions?

Do my excuses come from the fact that I’m focusing on what I don’t want?

Or do they simply come from my negative emotions that are manifesting as fears?

Obstacles Manifesting through Our Actions

There is another set of obstacles that naturally manifest through our daily decisions and actions. These aren’t so much obstacles that come from within ourselves, but rather obstacles that come from a lack of judgment, understanding, insight and experience.

The first step is to identify these obstacles, while the second step is to incorporate strategies that will allow you to correct your course-of-action and set you on track towards the attainment of your goals and objectives.

Rushing Decisions

In many instances, we sabotage our success and create unnecessary obstacles along our path simply because we rush our decision-making process.

We rush our decisions because of a lack of time or as a result of external pressures or circumstances. And the consequences of such inefficient decision making can sometimes cost us more than the process of refraining from making the decision in the first place.

Making Incorrect Decisions

Other times we simply make incorrect decisions due to a lack of understanding of a situation, or due to a lack of experience or resources.

In this instance, we actually take the time to carefully consider our decision-making process, and we come up with conclusions that we feel will best assist us to move forward along our journey towards the attainment of our objectives. Yet, a lack of judgment on our part can lead to the creation of unnecessary obstacles that could’ve been avoided if we had taken a slightly different approach.

Sabotaging Habits

Our habits are in essence the daily decisions we make, and the actions we take that manifest in the outcomes we experience within your lives.

Action related self-sabotaging habits such a laziness and procrastination, are ongoing obstacles that many of us fight against on a daily basis. Some of these habits are so deeply ingrained in our psyche, that it is difficult for us to understand how to overcome them successfully. 

Obstacles Created by Other People

At times we are confronted by obstacles that are brought about by the decisions and actions of other people.

It is not so much other people that are to blame for creating the obstacles within our lives, it is rather our approach and how we deal with others that manifest the reality we experience. However, for this discussion let’s ignore that fact, and just take a look at how others influence and create interpersonal obstacles along our journey towards attaining our goals and objectives.

People Not Cooperating

When people do not cooperate or do not see things from your perspective, this can cause arguments and unresourceful time being spent on trying to convince others that your ideas and strategies are worthwhile and should be implemented.

If you want to succeed in life, you must obtain the cooperation of other people who can assist you along your journey. You must, in essence, become a person of influence.

People Sabotaging Your Progress

Sometimes people may purposefully try to sabotage your progress by doing things that will throw you off course in order to serve their own personal interests. This is a difficult obstacle to manage successfully if you have little experience in understanding the psychological tendencies of human behavior.

People Incorrectly Influencing Your Decisions and Actions

Even though some people may have the very best intentions for you and your future, this does not mean that their suggestions will be of greatest benefit for your future endeavors.

Other people simply may not have the right perspective or insight into a situation that would make them effective mentors when it comes to influencing your decision-making process. You must, therefore, be wary of the advice that people give you. By taking the wrong advice on board, you may end up creating more obstacles than you can handle.

Obstacles Springing from Circumstance

Finally, let’s take a quick look at the possible obstacles that could crop-up out of the changing circumstances of your life.

It is important to remember here that it is not what happens to us that makes a difference, it is rather how we respond to what happens that determines how successful we are at overcoming the challenges in our lives.

When Things Just Don’t Go As Planned

In this scenario, you have meticulously planned out every detail along the path towards achieving your goals and objectives. However, for one reason or another something unexpected happens and your plans are thrown off course and into another unforeseen direction that brings great stress and anguish.

When Problems and Uncertainty Expand

In this scenario, you successfully managed to handle the problems and obstacles that stood in your way. However, every time you manage to put an obstacle to rest, another problem pops up creating an even greater sense of uncertainty. It seems that the more problems you successfully deal with the deeper you dig yourself into further problems and challenges that appear to have no end.

When Circumstances Lead to the Appearance of Defeat

The above two scenarios of unending problems and uncertainty may, in essence, lead you to believe that defeat is only moments away. However, the reality of the situation may be somewhat different than what you might imagine.

Within the next section, we will discuss this in greater detail.


Reasons Behind all the Obstacles We Face

Obstacles are often only temporary roadblocks along our journey. For the most part, they are nothing more than interpretations that we make about people, events, ourselves and circumstances. Moreover, obstacles are there to teach us great lessons and help us to better understand our situation, others, ourselves, and the world around us.

Did you know that every obstacle that you face has an underlying reason for appearing within your reality?

Within this section will take a closer look at some of these reasons and identify what they really mean to your life and predicament.

Life is a Magnificent Journey

Life itself is a journey of self-discovery, and not just a mere combination of small destinations. It is a never-ending journey that has many unexpected turns, twists, and surprises that make it worthwhile and fun.

When you are facing obstacles and challenges in your life, it is important to understand that you are on a journey and that no one event or circumstance determines how your journey will pan-out over the course of a week, month, year or longer.

Let’s take a look at the journey of life in a little more detail.

Uncertainty is Required to Build Strength of Character

Life presents us with constant challenges in order to build the strength of character.

Reflect on your past for a moment, and identify the challenges that you successfully faced and the adversity that you overcame. Ask yourself:

How did these events change me as a person?

How have they developed and shaped my character?

Would I be the same person I am today without having gone through these experiences?

How have my current decisions and actions changed as a result of these life events?

Life Moves through Cycles of Changes Like the Seasons

The natural world experiences cycles of change that we call seasons. These cycles of change move through stages of birth (spring), growth (summer), transformation (autumn), and hibernation (winter). We all acknowledge the fact that summer must end, just as much as we acknowledge the fact the winter will not last forever.

Using this metaphor, it is important to understand that the road towards the attainment of your goals and objectives also moves through periods of seasons.

You have your springs which give birth to new and creative ideas. The summers grow and expand those ideas in ways that allow you to reap unsurpassed rewards. Then there are your autumns, which bring with them new obstacles and challenges that encourage a transformation of ideas, character, and circumstances. And finally, we have our winters that allow us to enter into long periods of hibernation and deep self-reflection into our life circumstances, future goals, and objectives. When our winter is over we once again move into the season of spring, which brings with it new ideas that were cultivated during our Winter hibernation stage.

The seasonal cycles of life won’t always move in this particular combination or order, however at any moment in time be aware that you are indeed moving through a cycle. And no matter what that cycle is, be rest assured that this particular season will not last forever and that no matter how grim your current predicament may be — as long as you persist — there will always be a light waiting for you at the end of the tunnel.

Life is a Journey of Wonders Hiding Around Every Corner

When it comes to life, we simply just never really know what’s hiding around the corner.

Our obstacles may currently be overwhelming our perceptions, however, our perceptions do not make up our reality. What appears to be an overwhelming amount of problems may only be quite temporary. In fact, if you persist just a little longer, you may find that great opportunities and wonders are waiting for you just around the corner. You just never know.

Life is a Journey of Opportunities Disguised as Problems

The funny thing about life is that it sometimes has a habit of presenting us with a myriad of opportunities presenting themselves to us as unimaginable problems.

Remember, what you focus on becomes your reality. If you are constantly searching for problems and focusing on the things that you do not want, then that is all you will perceive within your reality. However, on the other hand, if all you are searching for are answers, solutions, and opportunities, then you will always be turning lemons into lemonade.

You must effectively teach yourself to search for the seeds of opportunity in every apparent problem that crosses your path. By undertaking this deductive process, you will create a powerful habit that will allow you to spot what others simply fail to notice.

Life Requires New Learnings and Experiences

We do not exist just for the sake of existing. Instead, we exist because we are here to learn, to experience and to mature as productive and intelligent human beings.

Every problem or obstacle we face has been presented to us for the purpose of teaching life lessons that will allow us greater clarity of thought as we progress forward along our journey towards the attainment of our goals and objectives. Therefore, don’t look down and frown upon the problems that you face, instead turn your frown 🙁 upside-down 🙂 and take time to learn from your challenges in ways that will expand your thinking and improve your predicament.

Other People Are Relying On You

You can never give up and never quit because if you really think about it, there are a multitude of other people who are relying on you to excel and succeed in achieving your goals and objectives.

Think about your kids, parents, siblings, family, spouse, colleagues, friends, the people you care about most, etc. How much is each of them relying on you to succeed in this field of endeavor? If you do not do this for yourself, then at least succeed for them.

It is also important to acknowledge that whether we know it or not, others are constantly watching and observing our daily life decisions and actions.

As a mentor to the younger generation, you must find it within yourself to set a good example, to lay down specific habits and foundational principles that you would like these younger minds to cultivate within their own personalities. I know it’s a big responsibility, however, their development and future circumstances may very well be determined by the decisions you make today.

Obstacles Allow for Personal Growth

Did you know that you will never achieve the goals you are working towards if you are incapable of learning from the problems (lessons) that life throws your way? In fact, you will never even get close to achieving your objectives if every time a problem arises you decide to look the other way or quit.

Life is a journey of learning and personal growth that guides you along the path towards your next stepping stone. Yes, this guidance is riddled with obstacles and problems, however, these challenges are there to test our resolve, and to help us to deserve experiencing the goals we are striving for.

From this moment on, only view problems as opportunities for growth, and you will move forward towards your goals and objectives with accelerated speed and precision.

Time is Required to Succeed

Today more than ever before we live in a society that is riddled with instant gratification. We want quick food, love, money, and success. Yet, for most of us, this will never eventuate, as success, love, and money only come with time.

Before you ever decide to give up and quit, consider that you may need a little extra time before things fall into place the way you might have envisioned them. It, therefore, doesn’t hurt to develop a little patience.

Time is Required to Build a Strong Support Network

To achieve any goal or objective you need to rely on other people both directly and indirectly.

If you are struggling with an oversupply of obstacles then it could mean that you don’t yet have the adequate support network in place that will help you to move through these problems in an effective and efficient manner.

Take time out to build-up your network of support by zoning-in on people who will naturally compliment your strengths and support your weaknesses.

Time is Required to Collect Resources

Another reason why you may currently be struggling with a myriad of problems and obstacles is that you haven’t yet built enough resources to better assist you with these challenges.

Take time to research and determine the resources you will need to get you through your current obstacles and problems. Once you have your list together, go out into the world and gather these resources to help you overcome your challenges.

Time is Required to Master Life

Mastering life means teaching yourself the skills, strategies, techniques and acquiring the tools you need in order to successfully achieve your goals and objectives.

Take some time out to study the obstacles that you currently face, and determine the skills, strategies, techniques and possible tools that you will need in order to move you through your current problems and circumstances. Mastering these skills, techniques, strategies and tools might take time, however, your time will be spent on a great cause that will further your success as you accelerate your results.

Time is Required to Mature and Gather Perspective

Sometimes you may have the support network in place, you may also have the necessary resources and skills that are required to overcome the obstacles that you currently face, however you continue to be stifled by their persistent aggravating methods that sabotage your journey at every step. In this instance, the ingredient that is lacking is simply time.

We all need time to mature and gather perspective about our current life predicament and circumstances. In some instances, others will simply not be able to assist us, and we will need to take time to reflect and gather personal insights that can only be obtained from our own personal experiences.

The key here is to simply take time out for deep self-reflection. Reflect on your situation, focus on solutions and work on finding answers that you may not have been aware of before.


A Mindset Grounded in Determination

Knowledge alone is simply not enough. We must instead learn to cultivate a mindset of determination that will help us to persist through the toughest of challenges along our journey towards the attainment of our goals and objectives.

Within this section, we will discuss the aspects and characteristics of a mindset that is naturally programmed to successfully overcome the challenges and obstacles that unexpectedly catch us off guard.

Cultivate and incorporate these principles into your daily habits and actions, and you will develop the killer instinct that will create unstoppable momentum as you move forward towards the attainment of your goals and objectives.

The Language of Determination

Whether we know it or not, the language we use on a daily basis has a deep and lasting impact on our ability and willingness to persist through the obstacles and problems that we face on a daily basis.

The words you speak, the tone of voice you use and the questions you ask yourself when dealing with challenges, are absolutely critical in determining your decisions and actions.

Using Passionate and Positive Words

The words you speak to yourself and to others must be of a positive nature that is further supported by a passionate disposition.

The key is to speak in ways that will move you emotionally and motivate you to take the necessary actions that will enable you to overcome the obstacles that stand in your way.

Asking Solution-Focused Questions

In a previous section, we discussed the negative power of asking why questions. Now we will briefly touch upon the motivating power of asking how questions.

We must teach ourselves to continuously ask how questions that are focused on finding solutions and answers to the problems that we currently face in our lives.

With practice, these types of questions will allow you to break through obstacles with ever greater ease and regularity. They are the questions that will bring forth creative answers and unlock hidden doors of opportunity that you may have never expected ever existed.

Here is a list of solution-focused questions that will assist you with breaking through obstacles and challenges:

How can I make this work?

How can I turn this situation around?

How can I strengthen my resolve?

How can I turn this into an opportunity to move me forward?

The Beliefs Growing from Persistence

Unless you believe in yourself and your own abilities, you will essentially struggle to get through the obstacles and challenges that present themselves in your life.

The first key is to alwaysbelieve in a positive outcome no matter how grim the circumstances may appear to be. Remember that what appears to be one-way to you, may indeed appear to be something completely different to someone else. You must, therefore, acknowledge the fact that appearances are subjective, and that you have the power to see things in ways that will further your success and help you to overcome the obstacles you face.

The second key is to believe that you have the necessary courage and ability to get through the challenges that life throws your way. Whether you currently have the necessary skills and strategies to pull this off, makes no difference. It all essentially stems from how resourceful you are when the problems of life come knocking on your door.

The Traits and Attributes You Must Cultivate

The following are uncommon traits and attributes that you should work on cultivating to help you develop a mindset grounded in determination.

High Desire to Succeed

People who never give up cultivate within their heart a burning desire to succeed no matter how dire their circumstances may seem. Their desire to succeed is so strong that at times they may even become unreasonable when working their way through obstacles.

These people’s desire to succeed is strong because they have found effective ways to keep themselves motivated when the chips are down. They also happen to ask the right questions at the right times that focus them on finding a greater array of reasons to keep moving forward even when the outlook appears to be bleak.

Wholehearted Commitment

People who never give up have an unwavering commitment to their goals and objectives.

Commitment naturally stems from an empowering set of beliefs that keep their gaze locked on their target until it is finally achieved.

To create unwavering commitment one needs to become crystal clear about the goals that they are working towards. Hence, these types of people set smart goals that will continue to propel them forward despite the challenges that lie in their way.

Unstoppable Determination

People who never give up cultivate a mindset of unstoppable determination. These people simply don’t take no for an answer. They see opportunities where others only perceive problems; they make the most use of every situation and keep moving forward no matter how the circumstances appear to be on the outside and despite other people’s pessimism and objections.

Determination and resolve are created through the cultivation of an empowering and optimistic attitude that pierces through obstacles like a knife through a loaf of bread.

Self-Reliance

People who never give up are self-sufficient and self-reliant individuals. Even though they continue to build their support network of contacts, they are in essence responsible only to themselves and their most sought after goals and objectives.

These people take responsibility for their losses as well as their gains wholeheartedly, without making excuses.

Because they are self-reliant, this makes them much more resourceful than other individuals. They always know where and how to find the resources, tools, strategies, techniques, and skills they need to assist them to move through each and every obstacle they confront. They are in essence very much like lions trapped against the corner of a cage. You would never bet against them when they have their backs against the wall.

Self-reliance is built upon the foundations of confidence.

Cultivation of Curiosity

People who never give up have an insatiable curiosity that encourages the formation of questions that most of us would never even consider asking.

They understand that curiosity brings effective problem solving and creative thinking strategies to the forefront of their minds. With these powerful tools at their disposal, no obstacle or challenge can stand in their way. If they happen to get stuck, then this only lasts for a fleeting moment while their curiosity-driven frame-of-mind goes into action.

Curiosity is built upon the foundation of asking effective questions.

Unwavering Optimism

People who never give up have an optimistic outlook that naturally breaks through barriers and obstacles standing in other people’s way. However, don’t mistake their optimism for stupidity in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If it was only optimism that drove their behavior, then it would be easy to make this assumption. However, optimism coupled together with all the other qualities listed here, manifests a finely tuned biological machine who sees a vivid reality of each and every situation as it appears from a multitude of perspectives — all the while maintaining flexibility of thought that will take them over (or under) the obstacles that lie in their wake.

Optimism is an outcropping of confidence that stems from a deep desire and self-belief.

Patience through Thought and Action

People who never give up are extremely patient even though this might not be very evident to an outsider.

They need to be patient because achieving one’s goals and objectives take time. One needs time to acquire new skills, tools, support, strategies, techniques, resources, and insight in order to develop a plan that will successfully guide them towards the attainment of their dreams and aspirations.

Patience is a characteristic that is built upon the foundations of cultivating the habit of delayed gratification. This is difficult for most people to attain because our society is unfortunately built upon convenience stores. 😉 Yet, it is only through patience that we will obtain long-term pleasures rather than short-term fleeting moments of gratification that mean very little within the bigger scope of our goals and objectives.


Breaking through All Obstacles That Stand in Your Way

Having encoded a determination centered mindset into your brain, you are now ready to take the final step, which is creating unstoppable momentum through action and thought that will propel you at ever increasing speeds towards the attainment of your goals and objectives.

In this section we will take a closer look at the simple actions you should be taking that will help you to break through the obstacles that stand in your way.

The Key to Creating Momentum Begins with Your Approach

The manner in which you approach the obstacles that stand in your way will essentially determine how effectively and efficiently you move through the problems that are currently confronting your reality.

Any action you take must, in essence, confront the obstacle from a flexible, inquisitive, and proactive manner that is fun and moves through a process of regular small steps.

The challenges we face in life can become rather overwhelming very quickly. Unless we physically take the time to approach these obstacles in this specific fashion, then we risk de-motivating ourselves and stifling our future actions.

By following these guidelines you will find that your actions are more effective, and you will confront less resistance as you progress forward towards the attainment of your goals and objectives.

Setting SMART and Effective Goals

Goals are the physical manifestations of our dreams and aspirations.

Dreams and aspirations are wonderful and pleasant ideas that we keep in our minds. They are essentially feel-good visualizations, however, they have no concrete basis in reality. On the other hand, setting smart goals takes your dreams and aspirations and brings them forth into the physical world.

Without goals, you will have no direction. You will essentially find it difficult to develop unwavering commitment and motivation, and you will fall into the obstacle traps that we referred to within the first section of this post.

Goals effectively lay down the foundations for everything, and are the driving forces that will help you overcome any challenge that stands in your way.

Without goals, you are far more likely to quit than when you have them clearly laid out in front of you.

If you miss this step, and simply ignore the importance of the goal-setting process, then you will be like a leaf blowing in the wind — with direction and little hope, you will drift from circumstance to circumstance without ever achieving anything of significance or value.

Building Your Support Network

We discussed a little earlier on, that it takes time to build and grow a support network of people who will be there for you when you need them most.

As you are working your way through your challenges, you will effectively need to be building and growing your support network throughout this process. Your problems will naturally bring forth solutions in the most unlikely of places. As such you must never doubt anyone’s resources, skills or the assistance that they could essentially provide you with when the chips are down.

Always keep an open mind and continue to build your support network of people even when there are no apparent challenges along your path.

Acquiring New Proactive Habits

Proactive habits are regular actions you take and behaviors you adopt that keep moving you forward towards the attainment of your goals and objectives despite any obstacles that are currently blocking your path.

Proactive habits could be for instance asking effective solution-focused questions, taking the time to do your homework before undertaking certain actions, or simply making an effort to wake up at the same time each and every day, etc. It doesn’t matter what kind of habits you develop, as long as they are moving you forward towards the attainment of your desired outcomes.

On the other hand, if you are currently riddled with habits that may be sabotaging or holding you back from reaching these goals and objectives, then you must work on breaking yourself free of their grasp immediately. Otherwise, they will continue to sabotage your progress when unexpected obstacles cross your path.

Cultivating Foresight and Identifying the Possibilities that Lie Ahead

Finally, in order to overcome your obstacles successfully, you must cultivate the habit of utilizing foresight to identify the possibilities that may lie ahead. It is after-all better to be prepared for potential problems, then to naively overlook possible scenarios that could eventuate.

You should effectively utilize foresight to identify not only problems that may lie along your path, but also the knowledge and skills that you will need to master in order to minimize the resistance and friction that future obstacles may present.

If you only take one idea from this discussion, it is that life is not about what happens to us, but rather how we perceive, and what we do, with what happens.



Concluding Thoughts

As a final thought, I’d thought I leave you with a famous poem that was once given to me by my mum to help cultivate the attitude of persistence within my heart.

The author of this poem is unknown, ho, ever this person’s heart and determination speak louder than words. I hope you enjoy it.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must but don’t you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver lining of the seeds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things go wrong that you must not quit.


Time to Assimilate these Concepts

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Never, ever give up.

My father said it to me for the first time nearly thirty years ago. He gripped his sooty hands around the steering wheel of his beat-up Chevy truck and stared out through the windshield, while the wipers batted away big, fluffy, white snowflakes. “You just can’t. You can’t ever give up. No matter how hard it gets. No matter how it hurts.”

He spoke the well-chosen words firmly and tight-lipped, while his head nodded to the rhythm of his speech. I don’t remember why he was telling me to never give up, I only remember that he never stopped doing so after that day. Now, I remember these words, whenever I do anything challenging.

My dad was notorious for giving his “I’ll tell ya what” speeches to my seven siblings and me after each one of our basketball, baseball, football, and field hockey games—but those lectures would come many years later.

On that particular snowy day I was only five years old and I hadn’t even picked up a sport yet. I hadn’t yet earned the right to hear one of his go-get-em speeches. I hadn’t yet missed a free-throw shot. I hadn’t yet stood over the plate and watched the third strike pass without swinging my bat. I hadn’t yet only received a 98 on a test. (“Where are the other two points?” he would ask.) To be honest I don’t think I ever did anything to warrant the oft-heard never-quit speech in its many variations, but that didn’t stop him from giving it.

Like him, and like all his kids, I worked my ass off from the day I was born just to keep up, just to survive. But, still we heard it from him:

“If you give up, someone else will eat the last and only piece of bread. If you give up, you can’t win. If you give up, you only have yourself to blame. If you give up, you’ll live a life of regrets. Only the strongest, fittest, and ablest survive. Only those who go the distance, finish the race. Only those who work for it, earn it. Perseverance is everything, kid. It’s the only thing.”

Seventeen years later when he showed up with a U-Haul rigged to his pick-up outside my apartment in Nebraska, I hung my head and couldn’t bear to look at him, knowing all the pep talks and lectures he’d given me in that truck. Seeing him standing there, I was sure I had let him down. There I stood, almost nine months’ pregnant and the father of my child long gone. I had called my dad twenty-four hours earlier to tell him I had given up. I couldn’t do it all alone—raising a kid, living thousands of miles away from home.

We sat in silence for the nearly twenty-hour drive. He didn’t say much, but he didn’t have to. Without a speech, my father lived the lesson he was trying to teach me for so long. He really didn’t ever give up—even on me. And because he didn’t give up, I didn’t either. Somehow I got through those first few lonely nights with an infant, the long work days, the financial struggles, the heartbreak, and the disappointment, because every day I heard my dad’s words, over and over, and I too shook my head to the rhythm of the speech as I rocked my newborn daughter, I willnever, ever give up.

Mary Curran Hackett is the Innovation Curator at Xavier University’s Center for Innovation. She lives with her husband Greg and children Brigid and Colm in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has published two novels, Proof of Heaven, in 2011, and Proof of Angels, in 2014.

Independently produced for This I Believe by John Gregory

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