Giving Up Is The Easy Part

It is easy to give something up. It is harder to know whether it was worth it to give up.

To make progress in life, we have to stop doing things. Parents stop dressing their children when their children have the independence to do it themselves. Most people stop taking formal post-secondary education and transition into the workforce. You stop living in once city and move somewhere else to start a new job. There are significant milestones where you can see the benefit of stopping something and starting something else.

There is another way to stop doing something. You just have to give up. And giving up is usually pretty easy. And it feels good. We give up because it will be hard to keep going in the direction that we are going. We give up because we don’t see the immediate benefit of our efforts. The problem with giving up when something gets hard is that it isn’t strategic. Learning to dress yourself, moving for a job, or applying your education are all strategic choices that will improve your life. Giving up is just a reaction to the hill that is before you. It is better for me if I force myself to do what I want to give up on — just a few more times. If it genuinely is strategic that I give up, then I will. If I push through a few more times, then I know if it is strategic, or just reactionary.

It is easy to give up. But be careful what you give up. You won’t ever see what could have been if you had kept going.