Consider the last time you were faced with a challenge, something you did not plan for or expect to occur. It could have involved something personal, in which you had one of two choices to make. The first was to accept what was happening to you, quit making any effort to address it, and not allow yourself to feel any sense of hope. The alternative was to find a way of addressing and managing the issue, even if there was little you could do to control it. Which did you choose?
Taking an easy way out always requires the least amount of effort. That’s why quitting in the face of a challenge seems easiest at times, whenever you’re confronted by demanding circumstances, an unexpected situation, or even moments when you have persistent doubts about how to handle an issue. It’s working past any of these conditions may seem too challenging, because of the amount of effort you imagine it will require to work through it.
The next time you find yourself at a crossroad, when you have to make a decision whether you are going to quit trying, or continue to put in an effort, make your decision an affirmation: This is not the day to give up. No matter how many times it seems you have let yourself down in the past, because of actions or inactions taken, including the number of occasions you believe you have failed, quitting should never be an option. There is simply nothing to be gained with an attitude of defeat because a situation or circumstance has become too difficult.
I understand there will be situations in which this may seem easier to embrace than others. For example, if you are facing a health diagnosis you did not expect to receive, and you believe the future is going to be uncertain. Well, this is exactly the time when you need to remind yourself: This is not the day to give up. Your attitude is going to have a direct impact on your well-being. You may find your ability to face the future, and care for your well-being depends upon what and how you believe. What you can do is learn to trust your inner strength, which you draw upon as an accessible internal power. Once you do, you will find yourself stronger of mind and ready to face whatever is ahead of you.
Reason to Quit: The Unexpected
The unexpected can and will occur in life. It usually happens without warning and catches you by surprise. If ever there is a time you would want to quit facing what’s before you, this would likely be on top of the list. There’s no planning for every possible scenario and situation you may be faced with or will likely encounter. When the unexpected does happen, and it will, you have a choice: You can attempt to hide or retreat from it, or face it head-on. As you likely know, running away from your problems and issues is only a short-term solution at best. At some point, you will always have to address whatever has occurred in your life. What you will find is your ability to address any situation depends solely upon how soon you can draw upon your inner resolve and strength.
Reason to Quit: Lingering Doubts
Whenever you are experiencing a challenging situation, be it personal or professional, your ability to handle it effectively may depend upon how strong of a mind you have at the time. For example, if you have a minor setback in your life, such as a goal you could not complete as quickly as you had hoped you would, this does not need to present a significant challenge for you, as long as you have a positive state of mind.
If instead you see this as a failure, and now believe you have been only a failure in life, trying to regain momentum may become much more challenging. Even more self-defeating are doubts that you allow to continue whether it’s about your ability, capability, or anything similar. The more you cultivate doubts, the more easily it will become to quit or give up when there are times you feel challenged or faced with a situation that seems too difficult to address at first.
Your Internal Strength and Power
The inner strength you have is often referred to as resilience, willpower, grit, determination, and other similar words. I simply call it your internal power, to represent a combination of all these qualities. It takes all these elements to give you the strength needed to continue, whenever you want to quit or give up. There are three particular powers you have that are developed from your internal power and include the Power of Potential, the Power of Beliefs, and the Power of Affirmations. Each of these powers can be cultivated with intention, and utilized for self-development. At any time, you can draw upon one, or all of these powers, and make certain this is a day you do not quit, just because of circumstances.
The Power of Potential
Whenever you see a situation as too challenging, beyond your capability or capacity, more than you can possibly bear, or any other justification which could be a combination of these reasons, there is something you have forgotten to consider: You hold tremendous potential. It is important that you remind yourself of this statement often, especially during moments when you question your ability to address an issue or circumstance.
All it takes is a moment of clarity when you recognize you can do more with your life, to look ahead at possibilities, and then realize you hold the power to make changes, all because of the potential you possess. Even if you have received the worst news possible, or the unexpected has occurred, your potential is an ability to create a mindset of strength and not give in to doubts and fears.
The Power of Beliefs
Can you name a positive belief you hold about yourself now? Or is it easier to think of something negative?
A belief is a mental statement you develop and continue to reaffirm, often without changing, unless you consciously make a decision to do so. It’s something you state to yourself long enough that you begin to accept it as the truth, especially if you find enough evidence or outcomes to support it. For example, if someone believes they are a failure in life, and they continue to witness failures at anything they attempt to do, the evidence will only seem to support and reinforce what they believe. Negative beliefs are the easiest to develop and replay, especially when events in life are not going well. Yet it is the power of positive beliefs that can have the greatest impact on what you accomplish in life.
When you are at a time in your life that it seems you want to quit, and negative beliefs are replaying in your mind, this is when you need to change your focus. Think of the last accomplishment that was important to you. Remember the details and what it felt like to be able to reach that particular goal. Now as you reflect, consider this: You won’t know what you are capable of achieving until you make the first attempt and try. That’s how you were able to achieve your last goal, by taking the first step. You don’t know what the future will be like, but you have the power of your beliefs. You can be mentally prepared and unafraid to move forward.
The Power of Affirmations
The last power you have that comes from within is developed through affirmations. These are statements that are designed to be specific to you and meant to guide you through those moments when you need strength. For example, some of the worst feelings experienced are those created out of fear and doubt. You can change your thinking by making strong positive statements that begin with “I am”, and conclude with optimistic words, such as: strong, powerful, hopeful, unafraid, fearless, centered, calm, etc.
There are other circumstances in which this power can become useful. For example, you may find yourself in a situation where it seems the impossible is before you, and for some reason, you initially believe you are likely to fail. Or perhaps you find yourself interacting with someone who doesn’t believe in you, or won’t support you, no matter how hard you try. This is a time for you to make a strong positive statement, beginning with “I can and I will”, and conclude with an optimistic phrase such as “perform to the best of my abilities”, or “believe in the best about myself”. The purpose is to help establish a positive frame of reference, which in turn will help you to create supportive beliefs.
You Can Be Limitless
Any time you feel as if you want to quit or give up on yourself, it’s time for a mental self-assessment. Ask yourself these questions: What more can you accomplish, should you find the strength to keep on trying? What is possible to achieve, with a little more effort? What do you believe about your ability to address this situation or unexpected circumstance before you now?
If you are contemplating a goal you want to complete, consider this: It’s not about the sky being the limit. It’s what you are willing to think about, work towards, and commit to that matters. There are no limits to what you can believe.
As to facing your fears and doubts, for every reason there is to quit, there’s an even greater reason to continue trying. The bigger the challenge to overcome, the greater your resolve must be. It’s not just a matter of how you’ll make it to the other side of what you must face, it’s about your determination to stay strong, even in the face of fear or doubt.
You have within you an unending source of internal power to draw upon, and it only requires a change in your focus. When you decide to make “I can” and “I will” your personal mantras, giving up will not be an option today, or any day.
Dr. J’s mission is to teach, write, and inspire others as an academic educator, leader, author, writer, and mentor. Dr. J writes blog posts, articles, and books to inform, inspire, and empower readers. To learn more about resources that are available for educators, along with career and professional development, please visit www.drbruceajohnson.com.