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Why we need sometimes to give up

I give up every day. I give up habits, opportunities that are not what I need, I give up Facebook or Instagram, I give up before I start wasting my time trying to win. And, in some cases, I give up on people. Even though it is said that winners never quit, I truly believe that sometimes we must know when to quit, at the right time, before we move on with the things we planned for ourselves in order to get ahead.

You expect me to pay for my gym membership but hope I won’t often take advantage of the services I paid for. You expect me to give up on my personal life in favour of my job. You expect me to give up something after all, anything at all— just to give up eventually.

Giving up is in our nature, and we expect other people to give up. And, in some cases, we unwittingly take advantage of someone else’s failure. What many of us don’t know yet – or still need to learn— is when to give up. No, we shouldn’t quit when we feel like we can’t go on any longer, or when we are at our wit’s end, when we feel like there’s nothing more we could do in order to leap towards our goals. And we shouldn’t quit when everything seems to be working against us. On the contrary, these are the times when we can actually perform better, when we’re not supposed to let ourselves be influenced by fleeting feelings.

I’m not saying we should always give up. I believe however, that we must, when needed, learn to give up on a small habit for a bigger, better one; we must give up on small people in favour of big people, the same way we must give up on a toxic job for a less toxic, or even a non-toxic one. And sometimes, we must give up on some things that are good at the moment for something that is going to be even better in the long run.

Up until a few years ago, I was trying to do and learn a little bit of everything. I was trying to be present everywhere, and in everyone’s life. I was trying to combine small habits with the big ones, small goals with big ones. Even today I gave up being a speaker in a workshop after confirming my attendance— and not because I didn’t want to attend, or because I believed it wouldn’t be a win for me, but because I had to choose, to focus on a more important goal. And previous to this, I had given up a couple of hours of sleep to prepare the workshop presentation.

There is that good —that decisive— moment when we can give up. A good moment to give up is after having previously analysed the implications and benefits, when we can decide if it’s worth our efforts, while a bad moment to do so would be when we are quite close to reaching our goal, and we had already invested all available resources. We can also give up when something more important comes along, something that helps us reach the final point of our destination, or simply something that makes us happier.

We mustn’t give up when approaching the finish line, when we feel our bodies shutting down or when we already played all of our cards. We do so many useless things, and we should give some of them up— and not at the time of hardship or anger, but as part of a long-term and well-thought plan.

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Laurențiu Ion

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