I am a perfectionist, a problem solver and I never give up. My wife thinks I am obsessed, obsessed with problems that doesn’t matter and I really, really should learn to start afresh.
The problem with persistence is that you don’t know when to give up. Everything you start is something you must finish, even if that means chasing that pot of gold lying at the end of the rainbow. Now, anyone running after the rainbow knows deep inside, you are a sucker yet you run.
So, when do you give up?
I suppose there is no one generic statement that can be the gospel truth.
Fact is, 90% of marriages are unhappy (I read somewhere). I meet people who hate their jobs, hates their city, hates their choices yet, they don’t give up. Perhaps, because ‘Giving up’ is not as easy as it sounds. Giving up means closing a chapter in your life that you feel you haven’t completely read.
So, what will help? I thought about these 5 questions that you should consider if you feel you have been stuck in a situation or a phase for too long and are deciding if you should pull the plug.
Are you still enjoying the process?
When you wake up in the morning (most mornings), and if you are not looking forward to the day, maybe that’s a sign. Actually, I am being polite – that is a bloody sign. The fizz is out. You can either think of ways to bring the fizz back in or just stay in bed.
Of course, it’s a lot like school, isn’t it? I almost never woke up and thought ‘today is going to be great’ unless my extra curricular activities outweighed the curriculum to be covered. But it turned out okay.
But see, that’s the difference between school and life. You fail a class and you can repeat it. You fail in life, you will be tolerated – once. You keep repeating it, there is a danger you might become a pariah.
But, if you still enjoy the process, still have clarity of why you are doing what you are doing, still love yourself, and haven’t lost respect for yourself yet; carry on.
What is the problem you are really trying to solve?
If you are burning the midnight lamp just to find out who the murderer was, then be prepared to be judged. And that’s not unfair. Your behaviour does demand judgment; you could have found that out tomorrow.
But, If you are trying to solve a problem that exists in your inner world and the rest of us are oblivious of it then that’s just selfish. You are no different than an adrenaline junkie. At least, they make money out of it. What? Some do.
Figure out the reason you want to solve the problem; not just the problem you are trying to solve. Is it your inner self that is compelling you to shut the almost shut door tight or is there a real problem. If it is just a personality thingie, here’s news for you – nothing in this world is perfect. The picture frame will always be crooked, there will always be a stain on the rug, and people will never drive in lanes in Delhi. Accept it. Give up and move on.
Do you have more regrets than achievements?
If you can muse over this question till the cows come back home, you definitely, need to cut down on persistence and commitment and dedication and … you get the message.
It’s a trade off; you either give up or stop complaining (to yourself). Good news, you can start over today else, your list of ‘what if’s’ will just keep piling up.
How is it impacting people around you?
I hate sad stories and stories get sadder when others are involved in it. And they invariably do. You selling off your mom or your wife’s jewellery, compromising on your child’s education, just to find that last piece of the jigsaw isn’t worth it. If you have been crying silently and alone, you know you are not well.
If everyone in the room is telling you something is wrong and you are the only one who doesn’t feel so; guess who the idiot is.
Do you have a better opportunity?
Of course, you don’t just give up. You give up when you find a better opportunity.
But you will only find opportunity if you look for it. Bit of a hide and seek game here. You don’t expect the ‘hiders’ to come out of their hiding so that you can seek them. No, you seek them out. That’s the whole point of the game.
Discover opportunities, stop trying to create them. Seriously, that’s what you have been doing all this while. Pivot. Turn, broaden your horizon.
There is a virtue in quitting. Thats not what my parents or teachers taught me but something I have learnt. It has been an expensive lesson. When you give up, you are not giving up on life. There is a difference. You are giving up on things you have been stuck for too long because you don’t want to give up on life.
Don’t watch a dreadful movie till the end simply because you bought the ticket; maybe if you left the theatre the moment you felt the movie was going to be dreadful, you probably will have an amazing day, not at the theatre but somewhere else.
Author : Samir Limbu
I Train Consultants India Pvt. Ltd.
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