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PERSISTENCE: When to Give Up

How do you know when it is time to give up? Whilst persistence has always been a key ingredient for success, it should be done consciously. From my How to Persist post, this post is an extension which shares the many scenarios you can choose to give up.

(1) When you are persisting out of desperation. This is when you’re at the dead end of things, feeling completely hopeless, powerless and still having to persist as you desperately need to achieve what you set out for.

Persisting out of desperation serves no meaning and achieves nothing. Persistence is supposed to provide a sense of liberation -- Feeling empowered because you’ve chosen, CONSCIOUSLY, to work towards an inspiring goal or a motivating objective – Not because you are forcing yourself to do it.

It’s good to pursue your goals with great aspirations, hunger and burning desire, but NEVER desperation. A desperate state of mind hampers your ability to think rationally and make decisions intelligently.

By giving up, you allow yourself some emotional detachment from whatever it is you are doing, and this can (ironically) help you to move towards your goal more effectively.

(2) Know why you are persisting in the first place. If you are only persisting because of wanting to be persistent, you may be walking down the wrong path. The expression that “one is only in-love with the idea of being in-love” is the equivalent of “persistent on being persistent”.

Persistence is done towards a goal or purpose. What are you persisting towards?

As humans are inclined to change their mind, your purposes change all the time. Who you are today is different from who you were yesterday. What you want today is different from what you wanted yesterday.

Your goals constantly change. Some changes more frequent than others, but they are essentially changing. That’s human development and is completely normal.

When the purpose of persisting ceases to exist, it is time to give up. Give up so you can employ your persistence towards the newly enlightened direction.

"Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction." -- John F. Kennedy

(3) When persistence has become your second nature, there’ll be times when you’re too blinded to see that you have been persisting with the same strategy of accomplishing a goal and IT IS NOT WORKING!

When your game plan isn’t effective, it is time to change plans and re-focus your energy and attention towards one that will be more effective -- one which you deploys your resources more efficiently. Why waste time on something you’re not good at? Why don’t you direct the attention to things that produce better results?

Give up, so you can think of a new methods/ideas/strategies/techniques/means that you have not tried before. Blind persistence is not going to get you anywhere; persistence is NOT stubbornness.

(4) One must know what is worth their time and effort. Persistence is not to die fighting, but to live and fight towards your goals, feeling completely alive in the process, knowing that the outcome you are trying to produce will be much greater than the effort put into those 'battles'.

'You may have won the battle, but you have lost the war." -- Anonymous.

Give up on the battles that are not worth fighting for, and fight only the battles which serve your purpose. No point securing what you fought for only to find that overall, it was not worth pursuing.

Closing notes:

Persisting is not the only option, you can choose consciously to give up. In desperate times, give up so you can detach yourself from the situation and make objective decisions. Give up if persistence does not feel empowering or liberating, for that’s the wrong way to persist. Know your reasons for persisting and what you are persisting towards. Give up and move on to new goals when old ones become irrelevant. Give up when the same thing you have been trying over and over again does not work – persistence is not repetition. Give up when it is not worth the fight, for you can choose to fight for something more meaningful.

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