If you are doing Achieve in 5!, you know that one of the Principles is “I can quit (but I won’t). A while ago Robert and I watched a video with Andy Andrews. Neither Robert nor I had ever heard of him before we saw an ad for his video lecture on NetFlix. He looked entertaining, so we decided to rent it. Between the two of us we are pretty well-read in the motivational speaker’s genre, but we’d both somehow missed Andy. His topic was The Seven Decisions. He is a compelling speaker and story-teller. The two-hour talk flew by and left me wanting more. The topic was the Seven Decisions. Decision #7 was, “I will persist without exception.”
One thing I learned from my childhood, as loving, supportive, and caring as my parents were, one philosophy they held did not serve me…AT ALL. The philosophy was that I should not be forced to do anything I didn’t want to do. I should come into activities willingly and enjoy what I am doing. When the activities ceased being enjoyable I was encouraged to quit. The most I would hear on a rare occasion was, “Give it a try.” If I gave it a half-hearted “try” I had done my part. I quit a lot of things growing up. The list is long and my earliest memory of quitting, is ballet at seven. I never had visions of being a professional ballerina, but somehow I knew that I had quit too soon. I quit so many things, that I never became really good at anything that required effort.
In a program I developed over ten years ago called The Achievement System there was a lesson titled The Truth about Failure and Success. In that lesson I discussed persistence, perseverance, and not giving up. I even explained that there is no failure unless you quit, everything else is in progress. But for some reason when Andy Andrews said, “…persist without exception” it had a much stronger impact.
When pursuing something important or something big, it’s not just enough to persevere, there have to be no limits to how far or long you will go to ensure success. The only stopping point can be success (or death).
There are many sayings and famous quotes about not quitting:
- If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
- If you fall off a horse, get right back on.
- Fall seven times, get up eight. (Japanese Proverb)
- It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. (Einstein)
- To stumble is to move forward faster. (African Proverb)
- If you are going through hell, keep going. (Winston Churchill)
- We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough. (Helen Keller)
- A jug fills drop by drop. (Buddha)
- Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. (Thomas Edison)
- Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. (Thomas Edison)
You get the point. There has been a lot of energy put into telling people not to give up.
If you have been doing Achieve in 5!, you may have missed a day here or there — eventually everyone does — but it’s not so important that you don’t miss a day. It’s not so important that you get everything you planned to get done in one day done. The important thing is that you persist and persist and persist until you reach the finish line. At times you will have to adjust and try a new strategy. I certainly have had to adjust my strategy many times.
I started writing the book Achieve in 5! in 2008. During that time, many life changing events took place some good, some not so good, but they temporarily derailed my progress; and still I knew that I would finish the book.
Even though I was derailed, it confirmed a simple, yet extremely important lesson. Never never never quit.
I’ll end with a poem that I have loved even since I was a kid giving up when things got tough, boring, or uncomfortable:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is odd with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
– Author unknown