Never Quit

Never Quit - introduction

Does it seem like despite your best efforts things never work out as you planned? Are you in despair because just when it seems you are making progress something goes wrong? At such times it is easy to feel defeated and to give up, but what can you do to stay on top of things?

It is a fact of life that despite all your best efforts at planning, strategizing and being careful not to make mistakes some things will go wrong sometimes. One of my favorite poems, “Don’t Quit,” makes the statement more eloquently by saying:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill…
…Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

I have seen this poem in countless places, mostly in the rooms of many a college or university student. It is a source of strength and hope for many during difficult and stressful times. The reason is that it states a simple truth so well that for many it is like shining a light in the darkness.

I stuck it on my university room wall at one point. The reason for putting it on the wall is simple. When things are going wrong it is very easy to lose perspective and to focus on the problem. The light in our lives often goes off at such instances. The message on the wall is like a light shining in the darkness demanding our attention. It is a reminder that no matter how bad it may seem, there is always hope. At such times, often after failing a test or just being so overwhelmed with schoolwork, it would be a great source of hope and encouragement.

Never Quit – things don’t always go as planned

Things will go wrong at times, but you determine what happens after a setback. There are in essence two basic mindsets when it comes to dealing with setbacks. One is the mindset of a pessimist and the other is one of an optimist. Dr. Seligman in the book “Learned Optimism” states that there are some differences in the way a pessimist and an optimist view a problem. His explanation gives a lot of insight as to why some people manage to overcome setbacks and difficulties and others spiral into a dungeon of defeat and self doubt.

Never Quit – the optimistic versus the pessimistic view

The first is that the optimist will see a setback as being temporary, whereas the pessimist will view it as permanent. The saying goes “never make a permanent decision based on temporary circumstances.” The pessimist will do just that. Rather than recognise the problem as being confined in time and able to be resolved they see it as insurmountable and lasting. The optimist will see the event as being limited in time with little or no real impact on the future.

The second difference is how the pessimist and the optimist will view a setback in terms of scope and effect. The pessimist tends to regard a bad event or outcome as being pervasive and affecting everything around them. Just because they made a loss on one business decision they will feel that their entire business is not working and a bad investment, when the truth is that only one deal went wrong. The optimist is able to isolate a bad event and its effects and to treat it as just a bad event that does not affect everything else in their life.

Thirdly, the pessimist will view a setback as having an internal or personal origin. A bad turn of events is regarded by such a person as having been caused by some flaw or shortcoming in their own character. The optimist takes the healthy view that the event is external to them and not necessarily caused by them. They realise that there is probably nothing they could have done personally to prevent what happened from happening. Learning to detach yourself from problems and setbacks is a skill that is essential to achieving success and your dreams. Clarity of mind cannot be there if you see yourself as part of the problem. Without clarity of mind you will not overcome the setback easily.

Never Quit – the important lesson

Fourthly, and most importantly, the optimist knows that, although they had no control over what happened, they have the power to influence or determine the outcome. This is what determines whether you rise again after you fall or stay on your belly and mourn endlessly until you are blue in the face.

Never Quit – attitude matters

Your attitude when things go wrong is ultimately more important than the event itself and is what will determine if the outcome will be positive or negative. I am in agreement with Kahlil Gibran when he says that “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.

If you have been defeated by a negative attitude towards setbacks do not lose hope. Admitting your mistakes is the first step to correcting them. A positive attitude can be learnt and developed. It is a matter of choice. You can make the choice, whenever faced with a difficulty to look at it form an optimistic point of view rather than a pessimistic one.

Never Quit – there’s always a silver lining

It is often said that “every adversity has within it the seeds of an equivalent or greater benefit.” Whenever you are faced with a setback ask yourself what you could do to turn it around. Better still, ask yourself how you can benefit from the setback. It may sound ridiculous, but you can benefit from a setback if you change your perspective. You will realise that there is nothing so bad you cannot use it for some good and that there is no situation that is totally hopeless. I have had many times when I have turned a “bad” situation into one that benefits me. It’s a matter of attitude.

Never Quit – conclusion

Take the advice from “Don’t Quit” and remember that:

“Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst
That you must not quit.

You are all you can be. Go on and be it.

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In the POWER PRINCIPLES series of books, Dr. Moses Simuyemba, "Africa's Success Coach", shares his knowledge, experience and insight to help you in overcoming your personal challenges and limitations and inspire you towards the life you desire and deserve: a life of greater purpose, free of fear and full of abundance.