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5 Reasons to Never Give Up

5 Reasons to Never Give Up

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:

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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.

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time-on-book

    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.

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    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?

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      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.

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      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.

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      Last Updated on January 15, 2021

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

      Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

      Posture

      First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

      • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
      • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
      • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
      • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

      All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

      Facial Expressions

      Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

      • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
      • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
      • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

      If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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      1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

      A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

      The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

      This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

      2. Relax Your Face

      New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

      The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

      To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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      3. Improve Your Eye Contact

      Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

      The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

      To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

      3. Smile More

      There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

      Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

      4. Hand Gestures

      Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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      It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

      5. Enhance Your Handshake

      In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

      “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

      It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

      6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

      As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

      Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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      Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

      Final Takeaways

      Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

      If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

      More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

      Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

      Reference

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