Giving up doesn’t always mean you are weak, sometimes it means you are strong enough and smart enough to let go and move on.
Staying determined to cross a finish line is one of the core values that I love to espouse upon. It takes vision, will, focus, determination, core belief, grit, strength, passion, and a long laundry list of values which resonate deeply for me.
That said, some goals just are not worth completing, regardless of all of the values that I cherish. Some goals present themselves at the outset as being worthy of complete dedication. But then something happens. A change in circumstances, or a change in ourselves, or a change in the world around us, etc. What then?
With a focus on exploring all of our options, we are sometimes left with the terrifying realization that pursuing this goal is just not in the cards for us. Without diving into the myriad reasons why this could transpire, we are left at the end of that realization with few options, and most of those options are not positive. So we seek at that moment to mitigate our losses, and summon the courage, strength and fortitude to concede on that goal and set the compass in a fresh direction towards a new goal of greater value to ourselves.
I have had to do this many times in my life. It is the casualty of living a life of extreme goals with very difficult paths to accomplishment. Some are easier to concede. Those are the ones you have invested less time, money and effort in achieving. Others have deep investments that we have made and the prospect of losing all that has been invested to date is daunting on a level that is inexplicable. The prospect of giving up is so contrary to the person within that drove us to this moment in time, as to make us near crazy in our attempt to find solace in the resolution required to call it a day on that adventure. In many cases, we venture long past this realization, each day knowing deep within that we are fighting a losing battle.
The interesting line of distinction (for me) in this experience is to really be capable of sorting the disparity between feeling flat out exhausted and fully challenged by the goal we are chasing vs. the understanding that it is impossible and not worthy of continued pursuit. That is a very gray area, and one that must be explored in various frames of mind. Decisions like this are not to be made in moments of exhaustion, despair, frustration, anger, bitterness or disappointment. Far better to allow these thoughts to circulate in our mind (when possible) for as long as we may, to enable alternate perspectives to rise up within and teach us things that we just have not contemplated until that moment in time.
People whom I have queried on this topic all say that you will just know one day what your answer is. In my case, I am not certain that this is completely true. In past chapters of my life, I may have held steadfastly to a goal or objective that was going to become unattainable far longer than I probably should have. The choice to not let go created even greater consequences in my life and ramifications that would take far longer to extricate myself from than had I faced the music when I knew it to be so and accepted the defeat, licked my wounds, minimized my losses and moved on.
These experiences sculpt us in countless ways. Not only do they teach us what we are made of. They also teach us what we are not. That is actually a great lesson to come face to face with. If you discover something that you are not, you have options. Either replace yourself with someone who can perform that task far better than you, or in a personal circumstance, either study, learn, grow, evolve, or recognize you will never be that quality, accept it and move on.
These lessons come personally and professionally and are never an easy pill to swallow. That’s ok as well. A tough pill to swallow can be one of life’s most valuable assets. They cause us to mature, improve, reevaluate and escalate to greater heights.
And that is ultimately what makes life magical. The opportunity to grow, explore, fumble and progress with all we may conjure.