Kaveh KavoosiAug 19

An Ode to 'Never Give Up' Day

Two people climb a mountain, with one reaching their hand out to the other who is lower on the cliff.

‘Never Giving Up’

Never giving up invokes a thought of fearless determination, courage, and valiance. It is a straight that is encouraged and glorified in stories across history and among society. We depend on these people and groups who are able to show up, are relentless, and effective at achieving the thing that they set out to do.

The tasks that require us to be spending more time with in order to accomplish or complete benefit from us developing tools to navigate them better. A challenge, which may seem daunting or even insurmountable, adapts in its degree of difficulty as you begin attacking it.

Our mind can be so good at initially connecting us with the end result of the challenge, not factoring in all that it entails. And so, initially it, it may perceive A to point B. In practice, it's often, A to C to A to F to -A if such a thing existed, to G, then a multitude of other hurdles presenting themselves along the way to Z. These can debilitate the arrival from Z from ever occurring.

Maybe Z wasn’t the destination after all?

So much becomes apparent with time as you navigate through, but a large part of not giving up is recognizing that there are many steps that are not chronological in theory as they are in practice and that in order to go towards anything you want to achieve, it must begin with starting.

Two images side by side: the first is a man climbing a mountain with another superimposed in-front at 50% opacity. The second photo is of a man, distressed with his hands covering his face, eyes closed.

Just Start

The start has its form of resistance, but once having commenced, you are already well on your way. As you get closer to it, or further from the start, the investment, or skin in the game in the form of energy, dedication, and time, all play a factor in your ability to execute on what is being asked of you.

I feel that as I write this. As I get further from the beginning of this writing piece, I feel excuses to get up or divert, but also, more willingness to continue since an idea, an argument, my point of view surrounding this is emerging.

Checkpoints

Creating checkpoints serve two primary purposes. They are spaces where you can declare you utilize your capacity to reflect on what you have done (or not yet done) thus far. They are also effective for breaking the totality of the thing you are putting effort towards into pieces. These pieces can have ‘checkpoints’ as your perimeters. Breaking things into pieces can be a way to work around being deterred. Find what works for you. Recognize and take note of what doesn’t.

Taking a Break

If your output does not find a moment to recharge, you will start to experience fatigue and maybe even burnout. Imagine a doctor who worked 20 hours straight or a pilot that flew for 24 hours without rest. Would you feel completely comfortable under their scalpel or in their plane? The same goes for you. You’re best when you are finding the balance that works for you.

On Support

‘You can go fast on your own, but you can go further together’, is a phrase heard among teams and the toxically positive. Because you can also go fast and far, fast and nowhere, slow and far, slow and nowhere, alone or together, too. There’s no one way to do anything. The best teams and even individuals learn how to work together, delegate, support, and even recognize within themselves and others when someone or the group is needing a check-in, break, or reorientation.

The Other Side

When speaking of the polar opposites, very often we feel the importance of not subscribing to blanket statements that are all-encompassing like ‘Never’. It's fluid. Do you want that air duct cleaning service person to ‘never give up’ calling you? Or an angry past partner never gives up getting you back or getting back at you?

When To Give Up

So, when is the right time to give up? Or is it conceding? Are you considering it a failure? Are you conscious of the outcomes? Is it at the expense of a part of yourself with no end in sight? Reflect on these. Have others, from time to time, reflect on this themselves, too. It is an important checkpoint when people are considering whether to continue on with something or not. These shear reflections can reignite a force within, reminding the individual or group why they set out to do it in the first place, or alternatively, it brings them to the realization that a pivot is required for it to continue, and thus it’s not giving up, its changing direction.

But at times, and often, it can mean throwing in the towel. But in these moments, with depth and consideration applied, it isn’t necessarily the negative things that ‘giving up’ is associated with at times. You didn’t fail, or maybe you did. Can that be embraced? Can lessons be taken from it? Can it be graceful if another person is involved? Can it be supportive? Can you reconcile the ‘losses’ if there are any, in the short term or long?

Don’t Give Up

In short, don’t give up, keep at it. Resistance will rear its head, but remind yourself of your WHY. Check-in regularly. Support self and one another, including taking breaks to recharge. Do not give up unless you have explored your reasons why stopping is in your best interest, making sure that you haven’t justified or rationalized your reasons not to continue and you determined it is:

a) not out of fear

b) not out of temporary exhaustion

c) alternative options were explored, including seeking support or guidance

d) a coping mechanism

e) a conscientious, thought out, outcome understood the decision.


Then, giving up isn’t giving up, it’s choosing voluntarily, conscientiously, to stop.