I lost my mum in March this year, she had a good life, 92 when she passed away, and she always said to me never give up on life.
It was strange remembering those words when she passed away. Our relationship was never close for all sorts of reasons and I always wondered how I would feel once she had passed on, my dad died 40 plus years ago and again it was not a close relationship, so once my mum died the ties to our parents was cut.
It’s quite unnerving what goes through your mind when you lose a parent, lots of different emotions. The one thing I didn’t expect to feel was regret’
Why regret? Well, I had never forgiven her for so many things in the past and now it was too late to tell her how I felt about our past and relationship. Time had gone by, months turned into years and before you knew it I was 59 and she had passed away.
It’s an odd feeling losing someone you had very little time for in life. Once they were no longer there, you feel somewhat cheated that you didn’t have the final word.
That sound really selfish, this is not about me, this about someone who had done their best in raising me and my sisters and that I was trying to give justification to my own regret rather than thinking how she had felt and her advice to never give up on life. Life is too short.
Death has the power to really focus your mind on the “now”. It makes you realise that giving up on anything is not an option. Its the easy way out just to give, the real reward is the success and personal motivation to become the best you can in life.
And that’s why I made a promise to myself and my mum’s memory to become the person she wanted me to become and for me to never except I can’t.
So why Does This Relate To Giving Up?
I saw a quote the other day that tickled me because it was so true, it simply said, “Remember that guy that gave up? Neither does anyone else.”Life is no dress rehearsal it’s the one saying that most people know to be true. But how many of us really appreciate the time we have on earth?
This not a Zen moment about reflection, or about self-pity. This is an honest question that we should all have an answer to. I sat down and thought long and hard about how my mum had seen me through her own eyes. Was she proud of me? Was happy that I achieved some things in life, not everything, but life is not that perfect. In fact, life can be a “Real Son Of A Bitch” when it wants to be
Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
Life is constantly shifting and changing; and no matter how many rules we follow or how many boxes we check, we have so little control over the outcomes we seek.
I was waiting for a time and place where things would be settled in my life instead of working to curate and cultivate a feeling being settled in my own heart. To be happy in my own skin and to never give up on life and my dreams.
So I made a pledge to my self that I would become the person she knew I could become and that giving up on my dreams and appreciating that life is for the living and no matter what disappoints lay ahead that to keep going was the only option.
That every day was a new challenge not to mention “outcomes” can be pulled from underneath us in a single second.
The marriage can end. We can lose that perfect job. The house of cards we are so proud to have built can come tumbling down. All we have is now, the present. We all the same 24 hours, and the only way to make the most of it is to just keep going.
Life Never Gives Us Everything We Think It Should
Whether it’s running a marathon, working towards your dream or trying to make a marriage work, there are some situations we can find ourselves in where we want to keep going but really struggle to maintain motivation.
We have to give every last drop of will-power and energy not to just give up and pack it all in.
In these situations we often find ourselves turning to mental tricks and ruminations to try and convince ourselves to keep going.
So what are some of the best techniques you can use at the moment to ensure that you persist?
When Life Doesn’t Go How You Planned
Most of us have stories and memories that we can use to dig deep and find inspiration. Perhaps you had a parent or a friend who never gave up no matter what. Maybe you remember them challenge you to accomplish something and really believing in you. Or maybe you just love the film Rocky (who doesn’t?). Either way, these sorts of thoughts and memories can help you to dig deep when you’re really struggling for energy, commitment or will-power.
If that doesn’t work, try an inspiring music track. Anything by the 80s soft rock artist Stan Bush should do the trick! ‘You’ve got the power!’
Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing It
Another trick is to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you’re working towards a dream then try visualizing yourself where you want to be because you managed to accomplish the gargantuan task. If you’re trying to make money, that might mean imagining yourself on a yacht in the sun somewhere…
Remind Yourself of the Consequences
Sometimes the stick can be more motivating than the carrot. If imagining yourself being highly successful because you did well isn’t doing the trick, then maybe try doing the opposite instead and imagining what would happen if you had to give up. Imagine having to tell everyone you failed. Imagine knowing you failed… Especially after all the effort you’ve already put in!
Break it Down
If you’re tackling an impossible task then sometimes it can help to break it down into smaller milestones. Writing a novel? Then celebrate each time you add a thousand words and count how many units of 1,000 you have left to go.
Take a Break
Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back and have a breather. Most tasks aren’t binary meaning it’s not ‘do or die’. Be strategic with your energy management and realize that a short timeout can often yield better results in the long term.