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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 May 22, 2020

      What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

      What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

      The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

      But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

      Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

      So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

      Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

      The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

      1. A Positive Attitude

      Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

      Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

      Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

      Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

      The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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      Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

      2. Confidence

      All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

      Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

      If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

      Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

      You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

      • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
      • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

      3. A Sense of Humor

      It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

      Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

      Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

      As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

      Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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      Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

      4. Ability to Embrace Failure

      No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

      Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

      Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

      Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

      Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

      By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

      You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

      5. Careful Listening and Feedback

      This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

      The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

      The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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      Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

      Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

      6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

      No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

      Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

      Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

      To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

      • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
      • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

      Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

      7. Growth Mindset

      Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

      Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

      Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

      It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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      Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

      8. Responsibility

      Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

      The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

      Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

      Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

      9. A Desire to Learn

      It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

      Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

      You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

      Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

      To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

      The Bottom Line

      Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

      Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

      More Tips on Leadership

      Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

      Reference

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