Not every day is rainbows and butterflies. There are some days where the grind just feels much tougher. Some days the blows land harder. It just feels like everything would be much easier if you gave up.
This is not uncommon. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. When it comes, it comes like a storm blocking out the sun.
I've been through this myself. There were periods in my life where things were really tough. I struggled with a prolonged period of depression where it felt like nothing I did really mattered. I wanted to give up on everything. It is one of the most deteriorating experiences of my life, and I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemies.
The hardest battles are fought when the enemy lives in your mind. Or to put it more accurately, the enemy is your mind. Oftentimes, I reflect on the Bible verse in Proverbs 4:23:
"More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it." The truth at the core of the matter is, we defeat ourselves by our own limiting beliefs.
Why We Give Up
The biggest reason why we give up is because we have self-limiting beliefs. Isn't it so much easier to discount yourself before even trying something? Or isn't it easy to quit because you don't believe you are worthy of success? We give up because we don't believe in ourselve and our ability to summit our personal Everest.
It's a scary thing to believe in yourself. It's scary to elevate your standards because you don't know what's on the other side. Sometimes, it's much easier just to remain with the devil you know than it is to confront something new. It's much easier to be comfortable. This is why we give up on ourselves.
How to Never Give Up
There was a moment in the Batman cartoons where his foe confronts his lack of special powers, in which he responds: "I have one Johnny, I never give up." For some reason, this moment in cartoon history was forever ingrained in my mind.
You don't need to be a super-buff multibillionaire sleuth to tap into this superpower. You just need to have grit. In Angela Duckworth's "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance", she highlighted her "lack of genius" and that amazing achievement is not achieved through talent, but out of passion and persistence.
When you are really down in the dumps, it's important to find a purpose that lights your life up with purpose. In the quest for this special purpose, you might experiment with things that don't quite fit perfectly. But once you find that thing you gets you up in the morning, never let it go. Like Mother Teresa with helping people or Michael Jordan with basketball, when you find something that perfectly aligns with who you want to become, let it light up a fire your life.
Your life is based on the standards you set for yourself. For example, if you make running 10 miles a day a must, you will find a way to get it done. Currently, I am committing to write on this website at least two times a week. This is a MUST for me, and I will do whatever it takes to meet this goal. Even on the days when I don't feel like writing, I will find a way to get it done.
Once you find your purpose, find out what your musts are. Commit to getting those musts done, no matter what. No one ever achieves greatness without commitment. And once your identity starts to mold, everything starts falling into harmony. Eventually, you start becoming the ideal version of who you want to become.
If you are on the edge of giving up, keep holding on. Where you are now is where you wanted to be at some point in your life. If you are still discovering purpose, it's never too late. Colonel Sanders founded KFC when he was 65 years old. He started at an age when most people were retiring. In fact, at 65, he felt like such a failure, and was about to take his own life. But he thought about what a good cook he was, so he borrowed $87 to fry chicken with his recipe and sold it door-to-door. At the age of 88, Colonel Sanders became a billionaire. You might be having a hard time today, but realize that life is full of opportunities. Keep experimenting, keep exploring, and know that once you find your purpose, everything starts to flow. You can do this! Don't give up!