I am going to go against the grain today. I am going to ask a hard question. And I ask you to not jump on the inspirational bandwagon.
I can predict your answers… at least the first ones that flood your mind. Don’t give up. Follow your heart or dreams. Stay the course. We can’t forget the Thomas Edison quote, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
But I ask you to think about this question for a minute. To consider some ideas before answering the question about giving up.
The first concept to consider is Passion.
Jon Acuff in his book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters brings up an interesting question regarding this idea. Does your dream get you up early? Here is his blog post on the idea.
If you don’t have the passion to actually go after something, then it is time to let the dream go. There is no use in working on a dream with minimal effort. It is a waste of your time. Spend that time on something else.
Another concept to consider is the Cost.
Achieving anything has a cost to it. In the example above the cost is time (and sleep). But don’t take time lightly. We can not do everything. If we spend time on something, that means something or someone is not getting that time. And Time is not the only cost. There is also the cost of money, energy, and relationships to highlight a few. If you are not willing to pay the cost of achieving a dream, then it is time to give up.
The hardest concept is Failure.
If you are not making progress on your goal, it might be time to give up. This is a tricky concept because we all do hit a wall, which I discuss at Stop Doing Nothing blog. Failure alone is not a sign you need to give up on a goal. And I can’t give you a time table to follow so that after six years you should quit. I do believe failure tells us that something is wrong. It could be timing, our approach, or a simply a bad day. But it can also be the wrong dream. If nothing is working. Failure is all you are experiencing. It might be time to let the dream goal.
When do you know it is time to give up?
If your goal doesn’t drive you. If you are not willing to pay the cost of achieving your goal. If you are experiencing nothing but failure. If all three of these concepts ring true. Then it is OK to give up on a dream because you can go accomplish another goal that has been waiting for you to achieve.