Quitting is so common these days. It’s been ingrained onto us that if something does feel like a perfect fit, then leave. I’m no exception, I’m someone who used to give up easily whenever things got difficult. After doing some research, here are 10 reasons why this may be happening to you too.
We have unrealistic expectations
We’ve all been there. A new job. New relationship. We’re so eager to get things going. All the ideas that have been swirling around in our heads now have the chance to come to life. However, this impatience never ends well.
What usually happens in this scenario is that we start with unrealistic expectations. We want to be perfect at all times. Always on time. Never making a mistake. However, this just doesn’t happen. We forget that the people around us have spent a considerable amount of time and energy to get to that level. As a result, we inevitably fall short of those expectations.
As our illusion of perfection comes crashing down, our self-esteem tends to go along for the ride. So, to preserve ourselves, we give up. We stop trying as hard as we can so that the next failure doesn’t sting so hard.
If this is something that you’re struggling with, then perhaps it’s time to adopt a long-term strategy of chasing progress instead. The best things in love come to those who are patient, and willing to put in the work.
We have too much choice
In his book on Essentialism, Greg McKeown talks about the clarity paradox.
- When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
- We have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.
- When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.
- Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.
When we initially start and see some progress, we’re eager to keep going. Desperately wanting more to show that we can handle it. However, as time goes on, we’re able to put less effort into each task. Anxiety spikes. The risk of burnout increases, and then eventually, we crash.
Greg’s advice in his book suggests that we focus on the things that matter the most. So, get a pen and a piece of paper. Write down 10 tasks that you feel the need to do. Then cut that down to 5. And now to 3. There. These crucial 3 tasks are where most of your energy should be going to.
“It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”Greg Mckeown
We have no actionable plan
This point falls in a similar line of thinking to the first point. When we’re too excited to start something new, we often don’t come up with a plan. We go in headfirst thinking that we can make it up as we go along, but (from experience), this ends up with us being inconsistent.
Being without a plan leaves a lot of room for things to go wrong. After a while of struggling in the dark, the work becomes too overwhelming and then we end up giving up. If we had taken the time to come up with a plan, then we’d know exactly what steps need to be taken at which times. This allows us to track our progression over time.
Next time you’re about to start a new task or project, I’d highly recommend using the SMART technique when setting goals. I’ve used it on multiple occasions, and it always manages to keep me on track.
We have a negative perception of failure
As much as I preach about failure on this blog, it’s still a terrifying event. In all honestly, I’m not at the point where I’m truly comfortable with failing. However, there are so many of us that take failure as the end.
There are so many successful individuals/ideas that started off as failures. They were able to realize that there is a lot that can be learned from failure. Oprah. Steven Spielberg. Walt Disney. All famous people who faced extreme difficulties early in life but still had a different perspective that allowed them to become great people.
We rely on external positive validation (praise) to keep us going
Another reason why so many of us give up so easily is that subconsciously we’ve programmed ourselves to survive off external validation. Humans are an extremely social species. Over thousands of years, it was genetically advantageous to be socially approved by those around us. As much as we like to think that we have evolved, things are still the same.
In modern times, we feed off positive reinforcement from others. I won’t lie, it feels good when my supervisor tells me that I’m doing a good job. However, if that’s the only thing that motivates me to come to work in the morning, then I’ve given them total control over my happiness. Once that positive validation stops coming in, then what next?
We let external negative validation control us
Another element of other people controlling our lives is when we pay too much attention to negative feedback. Don’t get me wrong, we should always consider advice from others. We aren’t perfect. There will always be room to improve. However, once the feedback is consistent and negative from a single source, then we have a problem.
It won’t work. Why do you keep trying? Just quit already. These are powerful messages that slowly but surely start to fester inside of us. If external negative talk is something that you struggle with, then I’d highly recommend using positive affirmations in the morning.
I am good enough. I am worth it. Things will be okay. Repeating statements like this to myself has been a game-changer in terms of shifting my life perspective. It allowed me to realise the power of my own voice. So, why don’t you start using your power?
We don’t have our internal why
So, when you take away all the external voices (both positive and negative), what do you have left? If the answer to this question is nothing, then you have another problem on your hands.
You need to be able to find your ‘why‘. Why do I want this so bad? What do I gain from doing this? Why am I here? These are difficult questions to answer, no doubt. However, you’ll need to face this challenge.
Personally, I make use of a journal to document my feelings whenever I’m about to start a new project. It allows me to dig deeper into my subconscious allowing my inner critic and inner coach to battle it out. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about yourself when you give yourself the space to open up.
We believe we don’t deserve it
This point hits a little too close to home. It all boils down to one thing. Low self-confidence. So many of us put on a façade of confidence. We want the world to think that we’re not insecure because it’d be seen as a sign of weakness.
So, when we fail, a big part of us expected it to happen. I’m not smart enough. I knew it’d turn out this way. These are the negative thoughts directed by our inner critic that goes on a rampage through our brains.
If you’re stuck in this negative spiral, then the best thing you can do is to start showing yourself some kindness every single day. You need to become the biggest supporter of yourself. Take yourself for a walk. For food. Whatever it is that brings joy to you.
It’s not who we are
We lie to ourselves all the time. We put on a mask, trying to pretend to be someone that we think people will like. While we might end up attracting a fake crowd, the major downside of this is that we end up forgetting who we are underneath.
Have you ever caught starting a task because of social pressure and then 6 months later, questioning why you’re still there? Gary Vaynerchuk considers self-awareness as one of the biggest skills necessary for success.
You can fake a personality for months or even years. However, if that’s not who you are then you will eventually give up. Instead, find out what your strengths are and then hyper focus on them. Be the best at who you are and success will follow!
We rely on motivation more than discipline
If you’re the type of person to rely on motivational videos to get you through a task, you need to pay attention to this point. Motivation will only get you so far. There will be days where it will take all your energy to get out of bed. Days where it feels like the whole universe has conspired against you. These are the days you will need consistent discipline. Some steps that you can take right now to become more disciplined include:
- Getting an accountability partner
- Setting a deadline
- Removing temptations
- Schedule breaks
Trust me, once you have a foundation of discipline, giving up easily will stop being a problem.
So what do you think? Which of these 10 reasons apply the most to you? When was the last time you quit on yourself? Let me know in the comments below. I’m curious!
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18 Replies to “10 reasons why you give up too easily”
Great tips, thanks for sharing! I tend to rely on affirmations to get me going and moan and groan that my situation or whatever doesn’t afford me as much of them as I’d like and need. I also tend to think, “oh if only” a lot. But then I’d realize I’m really just making things worse with that kind of thinking.
I love this! Such good reminders, I particularly love that you mentioned living by motivation vs discipline. Changing this in my own life has been such a significant shift for me!
Delaney | https://definitelyish.com/
I use to be the type of person who would picture all these amazing scenarios in my head, only to have a melt down when things didn’t go as I thought they should. I finally realized that it was more harmful and it was lowering my confidence level. Now i try to go with the flow and am less afraid of failure. I love learning on ways to improve they way I work and am not scared of constructive feedback.
Even though at times I feel like giving up I push through and I feel like a hero at the end
Excellent post! And people do give up way too easily, I see it all the time. And of course I’m guilty of it myself sometimes. Things have gotten much easier now that I have something I really care about to work on. No more procrastination or giving up!
I resonate with all of these 😬 Really great tips! It helps me to think of the longterm goal, while having mini goals to tick off and feel like I’m actually getting somewhere 🙂
There is so much to take in here. I can’t assimilate it all in one read. I have bookmarked it and will come back again. On the first read, the part that struck me the most (I don’t know why) was
“In modern times, we feed off positive reinforcement from others. I won’t lie, it feels good when my supervisor tells me that I’m doing a good job. However, if that’s the only thing that motivates me to come to work in the morning, then I’ve given them total control over my happiness. Once that positive validation stops coming in, then what next?”
I see you’re a fan of the Stoics. Take what Seneca says and cast aside the opinions of others?
Often times we give up too easily and this is so true. When times get tough I would give but I soon learned that it is just apart of life. So now I practice self-discipline and self-definition.
A great post, it’s all about mindset! Thanks for sharing.
SMART goals and putting a plan in place are two things I practice but this list is impressive and inspirational!
Awesome post! Thanks for the reminder to keep working hard and not be scared by a lack of immediate success or a single negative comment!
I made a note to read some of the articles you mention, especially the one stating that motivation is crap; I’ll have a look at Medium.
I really enjoyed this blog. Thank you so much for sharing!
Very well articulated. What keeps me going is the discipline, just being me and off course the belief that everything takes time to happen. I prefer doing things to my satisfaction and I do set high benchmarks.
Stay blessed always
Duly noted and on point! Feels like I been doing these things for years. I go out of my way to even make other people happy before myself. It’s exhausting. Also thought I would be more accepted only to realize I was just a subordinate, unvalued and nothing I did was good enough. Daily I get in the rut of giving up thinking it will never get better. Cried many times. It’s tough to break that cycle.
On point! Interesting read. Thank you for sharing.