Don’t Give Up!

throw-in-the-towelDo you ever want to throw in the towel?

“Throwing in the towel” is actually a boxing expression.  If a trainer saw that his boxer was being severely beaten, he would throw a towel into the ring as a sign of defeat.  It’s now a popular cultural expression meaning to quit or give up.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the stuff of life and want to throw in the towel.  We can throw in the towel on all manner of issues: marriage, faith, work, finances, friendships, philanthropy, service, or anything that feels like it’s gotten too difficult to go on.

I have no doubt that everyone battles giving up from time to time.   I know I do.

I believe how easily we give up is one of the foundational issues of life.  Vince Lombardi, one of the most legendary football coaches said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

If you do a search for quotes on giving up you will discover a plethora of inspirational expressions:

“Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit.”

“Failure doesn’t come from not falling down, it comes from not getting up.”

“If you feel like quitting, think about why you started.”

“Before you give up, think about why you held on for so long.”

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do.  But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that is true strength.”

“There are only 3 choices in life: give up, give in, or give it all you’ve got.”

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

You know why there are so many inspirational quotes about not giving up?  Because we all battle it.  Life is oftentimes like swimming upstream: it’s hard work, it’s tiring, and it can be overwhelming.

However, to give up is to lose all the ground we’ve already gained.

I recently found myself battling feelings of giving up.  Giving up on what though?  I don’t really know.  I just had a general sense of weariness.  Feelings of being on a long, arduous journey; spent, having forgotten why I had started the journey in the first place, wondering how it was all going to end.  I felt like I simply wanted to stop doing what I was doing, to escape.

There are 3 acquaintances I have known throughout the years.  They drop in when I least expect it.  They want to stay, but they’re unwanted guests.  They knock on the door and try to force their way in.

They are discouragement, despair and hopelessness.  I have learned to say no to their repeated requests.  I have learned to force them to leave.  I have learned to get violent with them because they have one objective: to get me to give up.

Their goal is simply to get me to stop doing good work.

I have a sneaking suspicion that you may be somewhat familiar with my acquaintances as well.  Their goal with you is the same as with me: to get you to give up, to stop you from doing good work, and to get you to throw in the towel.

Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Remember why you started in the first place.  Recount all the successes and victories you’ve experienced.  Relive the encouraging interactions and encounters you’ve had with people.   Reconvene with your like-minded allies and encourage each other about why you do what you do.

What you do matters.  Who you are makes a difference.  We need you.

When we grow weary of doing good, worthy work that contributes to the betterment of people’s lives, our companies and the community, everybody loses.  Remember what the great British parliamentarian Sir Edmond Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Good people doing good work makes all the difference.  Do not grow weary in doing good.

Sometimes things are just difficult and we need to keep moving forward.  Remember, it won’t always be like this.  Like Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

You make a difference – don’t give up!

Leading and Living on Purpose.