5 Reasons People Give Up and How to Stop
By: Shane Bender
I remember when I was in high school my dad told me of a speech by Winston Churchhill where he came back to speak at the school he almost flunked out. In the middle of the speech, he had a very memorable sentence.
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
Winston Churchill made this speech in October 1941, which was 10 months into World War II. Good thing he followed his own advice.
But most of us don’t follow this advice. We give up all the time.
We know we should lose weight, but we give up and gain it all back.
We know we should exercise, but we find something else to do. We will exercise tomorrow.
We know we should write a book, but it is too hard.
We want to start a business, but it takes too much time.
Maybe you have a business and you know the changes you want to make but you don’t follow through.
We are too distracted and we get tired or burnt out. Why do we give up, and why don’t we do what we know we should be doing?
After some thought, below are five reasons why I think we give up and what to do about it.
1. Fear of Change
In a Forbes article, August Turak explains there are four stages to change.
Stage 1 is Anticipation in which we are excited and anticipate all the benefits of the change we want to make.
Stage 2 is Regression where things get worse or harder before they get better. This is where we tend to fall off the track.
Stage 3 is Breakthrough where things start to get better, and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Stage 4 is Consolidation when the benefits are achieved, and it is now business as usual.
We fear that we might fail, and then we are left with something worse than before. What if we spend money on improving our business and we still don’t achieve our goals? We would rather be less risky and weigh all the options. But life doesn’t work this way. We have to take chances and work through the change. When the storms of change are beating us down, we want to quit. If we quit, then our fears will come true.
I believe that if we keep working hard and learning, we will get through to the other side. It might take a while, but most of the time when we get through it, we look back and are glad we did it.
2. Bad Habits
I was listening to a Master Class of the Calm App and it was talking about rumination. Dictionary.com defines this as a “deep or considered thought about something”. Basically, we all have automatic thought patterns, and we don’t know we are thinking. Many of these thoughts are bad thinking habits. It is similar to when you are driving somewhere that you have driven many times before, and you don’t remember all the turns of the drive. You were on autopilot. Our thinking is on autopilot. This could be a problem if we have some faulty thinking that can keep us from moving forward with our goals.
I know you were thinking this section would be about smoking, drinking, or overeating. But bad habits all start with some kind of faulty thinking pattern. We have to stop the cycle and turn the negative thoughts into empowering and encouraging thoughts. I have found that mindfulness, journaling, prayer, and Bible scripture memory are helpful. The challenge is to catch yourself in the bad thinking and to start thinking more positively.
I don’t know anyone who goes around saying they are prideful. I started to laugh as I was thinking of a humble person going around saying, “I am the humblest person I know”. Pride really can creep up on us, and we all deal with it at different levels. If you think that you don’t need to learn anything new, this is prideful. If you don’t want to learn from someone younger or less experienced, this is prideful. If you don’t want to change something because you don’t want to fix what isn’t broken, this is prideful. Sometimes, in business, we make excuses and believe an issue is specific to an industry or their company. This is prideful. It is even prideful to act depressed because life isn’t getting better for you.
I may be opening a can of worms here, but many excuses we tell ourselves are prideful. I believe we should all continue to learn, change, and try new things. It will humble us, but we will learn a lot in the process.
At the time of writing this, I have submitted my book draft to the interior designer. I would never have guessed how many editing changes and details I would have to consider before getting to this point. It has definitely humbled me.
4. False Hope
Sometimes we tell ourselves that life is going to get better, but we don’t do anything different. Maybe we think our health will automatically get better without eating right, exercising, or losing weight. Maybe we think our business will get better and we will have more cash because business will just walk in the door. This is false hope. We should have hope but not hope based on nothing. Some of the hardest work I do is working with nonprofits. Christian nonprofits could fall prey to hoping that donations will come in the door and God will provide for all their expenses. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do believe that God provides, and He is the Creator of all things. The problem with this mentality is that God usually does not work this way. God wants us to work hard and figure out the most valuable, impactful, and creative ways to help others. If we do this in business or in a nonprofit, then His Provision will come. We will be paid by the value we offer to others.
Laziness is similar to pride in that it can creep up on you. People do not usually go around saying they are lazy. I think this shows up in many forms today.
- Laziness is not planning and preparing.
- Laziness is just reacting and not being proactive.
- Laziness is doing what is easy rather than hard.
- Laziness is telling yourself you need to entertain yourself or spend money you don’t have because you think you deserve it.
We all fall prey to this sometimes. As a business owner, I find myself working on Saturdays most of the time. Now, I like much of what I do, so it doesn’t seem like work. However, I know that I need to build more free time and rejuvenation. Although, there is a season where we need to work smart and figure out how to get over the hurdle. We should work smart to meet our goals and then celebrate when we meet the goal. Focus on meeting that one goal, and then take a break. I know this is hard, but anything less is a form of laziness.
Let’s not give up on our business whether it is a start-up or thriving established business. Let’s not give up on our health or any other goal we have. We have aspirations to do more. I am going to end with a poem that legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant carried in his wallet.
“This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss — good, not evil. Success, not failure in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.” – Heartsill Wilson