After blowing the whistle on the banks for mortgage and foreclosure fraud, I got hit hard by their retaliation machines. I found myself alone, broke, unemployable, and quickly losing everything I worked my entire life to gain. Despite already going through hard times, I realized it was only going to get more difficult as I continued. At one point during the summer of 2011, I nearly overdosed on spice (faux marijuana, which was somehow legal in AZ at the time). As I lay in a bathtub awaiting what I thought to be certain death, I flashed back on all the moments in my life that led me to that point… and somehow I found the strength to get back up and continue breathing…
The experience changed my life. I woke up with a renewed drive to fight the banks. People started backing and supporting my cause, and I leveraged the experience into a successful writing career. While my story isn’t the norm, it’s certainly not uncommon. If dancing on rock bottom accomplishes nothing else, I hope it serves to illustrate that no matter how bad things get, you should never give up. There’s always a reason to keep pushing just a little bit further toward your goal, or even just to stay alive to fight another day. I’m not special; I just kept going when others quit.
Here are some reasons to never give up:
You’re Almost There
Have you ever heard the phrase “past the point of no return”? It means that you’ve come so far, it’s easier to continue than to turn back. The phrase is used much more sparingly than it should be. Every moment of your life is past the point of no return. You’re not going to eventually end up back in the womb. All you can do is move forward in life, and the reason why is because wherever you’re at or whatever you do, you can’t turn back time.
I spent nearly two years on the brink of success; it felt like chasing a carrot on a stick. Every short-term goal I accomplished seemed to place two more steps between my current position and my long-term goals. It was as though there was a giant hand reaching out of the sky, picking me up, and placing me backwards every time I tried to move forward with my life. In the face of these overwhelming odds, I kept repeating to myself, “Don’t stop. You’re almost there.”
Before I even understood it happened, I was suddenly an overnight success. The thing is–I didn’t know how to sit back and enjoy it. I continued working as though I was almost there. The idea was embedded in my psyche, and my work ethic was forever altered. Instead of resting on my laurels, I continue working as though I’m almost there to this day. As long as I keep that thought in my head, I continue working. The instant I decide I’ve either already made it or I never will, I’ll stop working, and my journey as a writer will end. Success is like adulthood–you think you’ll wake up one day feeling a complete transformation, but instead you look back and realize the evolution happened right under your nose.
What a Waste of Time
I can’t stress enough how important our time is. Regardless of how life, the world, and existence start or end, we’re all living in the middle of it. Don’t waste your time–it’s the only resource you can spend but never replenish. When you give up, you’re devaluing your time.
Instead of wasting your time, take a step back for a moment and really analyze what’s going on in your life that’s motivating you to throw in the towel. There are times you may need to walk away from a project, but it doesn’t mean you need to give up completely. Think of your life as a boat. If you notice the boat sinking, you sometimes have to dump unnecessary weight in order to stay afloat. Applying this concept to your financial situation, it’s sometimes necessary to let a bill or two go in order to catch the rest up. Manage any aspect of your life the same way.
Even if you do have to lose a battle (short-term goal), focus on how the lessons learned affect the overall war (your long-term goals). Whatever you do, don’t allow your time to be wasted. If you don’t value your time enough to spend it for your benefit, why would anyone else?
Failure is Important
If you think you’re going to reach success without tasting failure, I can assure you that you’ll never reach success. Every winner loses, but not every loser wins. It’s important to fail because it teaches you valuable life lessons–you don’t always get what you want, being right doesn’t mean you’ll win, heart is more important than skill, never take anything for granted, etc.
Instead of perceiving failure as a negative, look at it as a chance to reset and start again refreshed. Yes, the delays are annoying, and I’m aware there are a lot of obstacles in your way. You have a house, care, family, utilities, expenses, and so many other things to think about. You were counting on that paycheck, the time off, another person’s help, or whatever else is impeding your success. It may feel like the end of the world, but it’s never over as long as you’re still breathing.
Don’t be too attached to comfort. You may think you can’t live without cable television, food, electricity, a car, a home, or other people, but it’s entirely possible. Instead of using the thought “other people have much worse problems than me” to deter you from feeling sorry for yourself, use it as a motivational tool to take more risks. Other people have much worse problems than you, so if you lose what you’re risking, you won’t be alone. You may even succeed, but as long as you’re prepared for failure, or at the very least willing to fight on, you’re going to be ok.
Someone Else Will
I love hip-hop. Studying the hip-hop industry (particularly through conversations with Wendy Day), What I learned from the hip-hop community is a trend I’ve seen in far too many social circles–Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, etc went through some negative life experiences, and they now pour their hearts out over music. You listen to this music, relate to their pain, and start bragging to other people about the traits that make you similar to the MCs we all know and love. The difference between you and Eminem is that he turned his pain into one of the most successful careers in the history of the music business–you just repeat your pain to everyone in hopes it’ll entitle you to something.
Everyone goes through tough times, and while giving up may ease your stress, it doesn’t make your goal disappear–someone else will just come through and accomplish whatever it was you were hoping to accomplish. That job will go to someone else, the invention will come from someone else, that woman will spend every night banging someone else… and it’s all your fault for giving up. If you can’t live with the idea of someone else enjoying the fruits you labored for, it’s a good idea to get up and keep pushing.
You’re Only Hurting Yourself
At the end of the day, we all want to see you succeed, but if you don’t, you’re the only one who’s ultimately affected. Just because you gave up doesn’t mean everyone else is. Your friends and family may still love and care about you, but they’ll eventually spend less and less time with you–nobody wants to hang around with someone who makes them feel stuck.
If you want to give up, give up. I can’t stop you, but if you want to succeed and turn your dreams into a reality, it’s going to take work. You’ll have to walk through both heaven and hell. There will be pain, and there will be a lot of times where you feel like giving up is your only option. Keep pushing, and never give up–quitters never win.