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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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    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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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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