On Giving Up

"Never, never, never, never give up." Or not.
“Never, never, never, never give up.” Or not.

The spring of 2014 was not easy for my family. We recently moved to a new country and, after renting for about a year, bought ourselves an apartment. We bought it all cash with money borrowed from my parents, thinking that it would be relatively easy to get a mortgage once we get some income history for 2013.

We were wrong. As we were getting rejected by one bank after another, the possibility of not getting a mortgage became increasingly real. And without the mortgage, we would be unable to renovate the apartment to move in – or return the money to my parents, for that matter.

On top of it all, we discovered that my wife was pregnant with our second child.

Back there and then, we decided that we would apply to all the banks if needed and would not declare defeat until every single one rejected our application. After five rejections, one bank accepted. The mortgage rate was much higher than average but we were saved.

Never Giving Up Is Silly

Am I trying to say that you should never give up? No. As Den Kennedy writes in his book, banging your head against the wall when something clearly isn’t working is silly. Blind perseverance is for suckers – success if often brought by trying a lot of different things and seeing “what sticks”.

However, most people give up too early. That’s why I think the popular advice to “never, never, never, never give up” (often mistakenly attributed to Winston Churchill) should not be taken literally. Rather, think of it as motivation to hold on for just a little longer than you normally would.

In any endeavor, there is a point by which 99% of people give up. Be willing to cross that point and peek at what’s round the corner. You may be surprised at just how close the goal is.

Don’t Be the One Who Says No to You

A few years back, I stumbled upon a profound piece of advice. I don’t remember the source, but the advice ran something like this: Don’t be the person saying no to you. Let it be that girl you’re trying to approach, the bank where you want to get a mortgage, or that sales prospect.

What this really means is that you should not shut down opportunities for yourself without really trying. Never say to yourself, “It’s no use. It’s never going to work.” because what it is is just a convenient excuse. The truth is, you will never know unless you try.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not live the rest of my life wondering what would have happened if I actually tried instead of saying no to myself.

Because, as it turns out, miracles often happen if you persevere just a little bit longer.

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