Learn When to Say “No” and Give Up

“Never give up”, “Don’t stop”, “Never quit”, “Keep moving forward”… We consistently post about never giving up, but the truth is there are times when we need to seriously consider it. Getting knocked down means we have to get up, but it doesn’t mean we have to keep doing what we’ve been doing. In fact, it always means we need to do something different. Sometimes doing something different includes saying no and giving up.

There is a time when it’s right to say “no” to what’s in front of you and simply give up – but this should not be seen as a bad thing. When you say no to something that seems to be a lost cause, you are practically letting go of the dead weight – and are ready to start afresh. By doing that, you may end up being more successful than you would have been if you continued to follow the old path.

The Power that “No” Holds

So, why is it that so many people have an inability to say “no”? The answer to that is not actually as obvious as it might seem. Our direct answer would be that it’s because of our need to please – but in truth, it is because we tend to put other people’s objectives over our own. But this is something that we need to shake immediately – because not only is it unfair to us, it is unfair to the others as well.

Disregarding your own opinions and feelings might seem like a very unselfish thing to do. After all, ever since childhood, we were taught to give rather than to take. However, just because it seems like the “right thing” to say yes and go on with the plan, it does not mean that it is also what you should actually do.

Think about all the times when you have agreed to do something, be it in your personal or professional life, when every fiber of your being just wanted to say no and give up. Later on, you either resented yourself or the person that asked you to do it, didn’t you? Didn’t that make you feel bad, and wish that you could go back in time and say no?

In your pursuit to never let go, your persistence to “make things right” might actually end up being quite exhausting. You waste time trying to remain in contact with people that have no interest in remaining in contact with you. You hold jobs that did not make you happy – jobs that made you emotionally or physically ill. You believe that things will get better – because after all, we were taught to “never give up.” But in some cases, giving up is actually the smarter choice.

When to Give Up

So, how do you decide that it is time to put your foot on the floor and say no? When do you know that it’s high time that you give up? Well, here are a few signs that might tell you it’s time to hit the brakes:

  • Your attempt to resolve a problem suffocates your life

If you feel as if you can’t actually enjoy life in the way that you should, maybe it is a sign that you should stop and consider whether it’s something worth sacrificing everything for or not. What are the reasons for you to keep trying?

When you become so overwhelmed to improve a situation (e.g. a business project or a personal one), you might end up losing your focus on everything else that mattered (e.g. your friends and family). Plus, you end up with a painful sensation and emotional drain – something which is not right. When you work towards a goal that is worthwhile, you should experience a feeling of elation and excitement.

Now, think about the prospect of giving up – when you simply stop trying. What’s the first feeling that overwhelms you? If it’s a feeling of exhilaration and freedom, then it’s a clear sign that you should give up.

  • You can’t see a positive outcome, no matter how much you visualize

If you keep stubbornly working on a goal that seems impossible to achieve, then you might have a problem there – mostly because you are sabotaging your own efforts. Go to a quiet place and contemplate in great detail the realization of your goal.

Can you get a clear picture of its resolution? Do you have a good feeling about its success? If not, maybe you have to reassess whether you want to continue with this goal or not.

  • No one on your team is interested, you can’t convince anyone of the value

This is relevant in relationships, group projects, teamwork, or anything that needs the involvement of more than one person. If you are the only one that tries to initiate contact or take action in order to improve a situation, then it might be a sign that it’s unlikely for the relationship or the project to survive.

It is possible that you are so far ahead of the pack that other’s simply can’t understand, but there are *always* other great thinkers out there. If you cannot find *anyone* that can resonate with your ideas at all, either it’s not flushed out enough or your island is going to be an island of one.

Letting go of something in which you are the only one invested will lead to temporary pain or disappointment – but once those negative emotions are overcome, you’ll be able to tackle new projects, people – and overall, better paths in your life.

  • When you wake up, the first thing that you want to do is to give up

Your intuition is at its strongest after you have rested and opened your eyes after a good sleep – and whether we want to admit it or not, our intuition often knows what’s in our best interest.

Even if our intuition isn’t always ‘right’, waking up wanting to give up will never yield good results. Not only will you feel horrible, your mentality will not get you through the hardships.

Find out if this is just a small phase, find out the real reason your intuition is telling you give up. Understand this well and make a decision to quit if it’s viable. This way, you can focus on something that is most likely to bring you success.

Giving Up vs. Taking a Break

Anxiety, fatigue, and frustration might put you in an emotional state where you might feel like it’s impossible to keep going. In those cases, all you want to do is give up. But what if the problem is just this way: an emotion of the moment?

If the thing that you are considering giving up is important – and if you have already invested a lot of time and effort in it – the best thing to do is take a break. Take a vacation or a leave of absence – clear your head and think about it.

Now, once you have returned, you will have a more neutral mindset and you should be able to see it in perspective. At this point, examine your feelings, weigh the facts, and ask yourself this question: do you still want to quit?

Have the Self Awareness to Give Up

Giving it your all and trying your best to fix a situation is the admirable thing to do – particularly when you are going towards a worthwhile goal. Yet giving up after truly giving it your all is just as admirable.

The problem man of us run into is when we run into small problems/issues and think they are big show stoppers. There is no easy answer, but be honest with yourself, understand if you are truly trying your best. This requires awareness of ourselves, our situation and our abilities.

Continue to dream, continue to move forward but understand, we won’t achieve all our dreams. We will need to give up sometimes and think of new dreams. It’s ok. Remember we aren’t actually supposed to achieve all of our dreams, if we do they weren’t big enough.



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