Most of us have at some point thought or said out loud, “I give up” when the going gets tough and it seems the task at hand is near impossible. Well, maybe it is, but there again, maybe it isn’t. How do you know?
Perhaps you can relate to the excitement at starting something new. It may need a lot of work and be difficult to do, but there is an enthusiasm which spurns you on. You know the hard work will be worth it in the end when you finally reach your goal.
It’s a goal so far away, but it doesn’t matter because you’re getting closer to it everyday with each action you take. Then, after the initial enthusiasm begins to wear, reaching the goal seems to never get any closer, or seems further away, then something happens.
Doubts begin to set in, “will I ever get there,” you begin to think, “It’s harder than I thought,” and slowly but surely you lose most of that original enthusiasm. Bit by bit, you start the process of giving up until you reach the point when you say, “I give up” and boom, you fail.
Take a look at the picture below. I saw it on the internet, I don’t know who it’s by or where it came from. What I do know, is that it illustrates perfectly what many of us do when we start to believe our own self-doubts. We jump on board the ‘failure train’ to take us away from all this, without knowing how far away we were from success.
Where Does Self-Doubt Come From?
Much of our mind’s pre-programming from when we were very young, is of a negative nature. What we were told was imprinted into our subconscious, where it remains. Our beliefs, habits, thoughts and actions are often as a result of what’s stored in our subconscious.
But the subconscious isn’t to blame. Really, it’s not much more than a filing system, well it’s more than that, but it holds everything we’ve heard and experienced. It holds all this data even though we may have forgotten about most of it, yet it still affects our lives.
While the subconscious mind stores that which forms our persona, it’s our conscious mind which does the thinking. Some of this thinking is emotional rather than logical, and when it’s negative and emotional, that’s where self-doubt can come from.
This kind of negative thinking in our conscious mind is referred to as “The Great Trickster” by John Kehoe in his book, Mind Power into the 21st Century. Our thoughts question whether we’re good enough or able to do something. I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself.
These types of thoughts aren’t trying to do us down, they are trying to keep us safe by preventing us making any changes or taking any risks that might put us in danger. They are usually fuelled by our subconscious negative beliefs about ourselves and reinforced by our conscious thinking in the form of the great trickster.
We are being tricked into a false belief for our own safety! This is one of the reasons we have self-doubts, but when you understand how your mind works, you can change this because you then understand that YOU have the power to control your thoughts, rather than your mind alone.
I Give Up is Another Way Saying You’ve Failed
Giving up doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve failed, but it will mean that you haven’t succeeded. That might teach you an important lesson and lead you to doing something different that turns out even better.
Failure can come from giving up though, if you lose hope or belief in what you are doing. How do you know if you’d kept trying for a little longer, you might have been successful? Well you don’t know and never will.
There’s a big difference in giving up because of frustration compared to giving up because you’ve given your best shot and think that it’s time to move on. Really, the first is giving up but the second is learning a reality from your experience, drawing a line and moving on.
If you fail through just giving up, it’s probably a real failure. On the other hand, if you fail and learn then change course, that’s not really a failure at all. You’re not giving up, you’re learning, developing and deciding to move on to something new.
How to Know When its Time to Try Something New
Some people never give up and that’s to their credit, but there does come a time in most situations when its time to move on. So, how do we know when that time has come? If we’re honest, we know when that is, we feel it instinctively.
If you’re feeling frustrated and angry at not achieving, it might not be time to stop – take a look at the picture above again. The ego takes over, the Great Trickster tells you you’re wasting your time and are worth more than this. The negative feelings that go with these thoughts are a sure sign you’re setting yourself up to give up and fail.
When there’s a spark of hope and desire even when the task seems impossible, it’s a sign to carry on. Remember, success is just a little further down the road than failure.
There’s an interesting article by M.Farouk Radwan, MSc on why you should keep trying. In it he says that if an idea doesn’t work, try another. No mention of giving up or failing.
If you’re the type of person who gives up easily, you’ll no doubt recognise the pattern, even if you won’t admit it to yourself. Giving up for no reason other than anger, frustration or something similar, leads to the door marked “Failure” so be very careful of using those three words, “I give up” because that’s probably the time you should be keeping on at it.