When should you give up?

By David Joel Miller.

Quitting

Quitting.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Should you give up or keep going?

You read a lot of advice that tells you to never give up. But I think we’ve all seen people who continue doing something which never had a chance of success. I notice a lot of people starting businesses full of hope, and over time they pour everything they had into that business only to lose everything. We also see people who gave up just before success could have happened. How do you decide when to persevere and when to give up?

People don’t like to quit but sometimes quitting is the smart thing to do.

I recently came across a Seth Godin book titled “The Dip” that talked about precisely this dilemma. There are several reasons you might have to choose between continuing and giving up.

In the beginning, you don’t know what’s ahead.

Many people get themselves into something, a job, a career, or a relationship, without knowing what’s ahead. That can be the result of not researching your planned course of action or not spending the time to get to know the person you’re getting involved with. A change of path can also happen because situations in the world have changed.

Many things sound a lot easier and more enjoyable than they actually are. Being a rock star musician is a common fantasy. But unless you really love playing your instrument and performing in front of people, trying to make it to the top can be a painful path. Being a rock star looks attractive, but the thousands of hours of practice and the long stretches of playing one-night stands in small clubs deters a lot of would-be rock stars.

Quit when the things you must do, don’t match your values.

It is imperative that you be clear about your values. Sometimes you start on something only to discover that what you’ll have to do will not be consistent with your values. In that situation, many people compromise their values. Sometimes it pays to re-examine your beliefs. But if what you will have to do does not match your core values it’s time to give up the pursuit of that goal and headed in a different direction.

When your approach stops working you should change tactics.

No matter how well thought out plan was, if it doesn’t work it’s not the right plan. Many people invest so much pursuing something they want that they find it impossible to give up the pursuit of that goal even when they know what they’re doing won’t work. Working longer and harder won’t help if you are using the wrong approach.

It’s time to change when you are putting more in than you’re getting back.

We never seem to have all the information we need before starting on a project. If you find that the cost of reaching your goal will be more than you have or more than that goal is worth, it is time to change your plan. Many people succumb to the sunken cost fallacy. They tell themselves I put so much into this that I must keep going. What you put into it in the past is irrelevant. Past efforts and past expenditures are gone. What’s important is how much more will you have to put in and will the result be worth the additional investment.

Abandon a course when it’s not taking you where you want to go.

Sometimes life’s maps turn out to be inaccurate or missing details. If you set off in one direction and discovered that the effort you’re putting in is not taking you where you want to go, don’t keep wandering in the wrong direction. People can spend their whole lives saying that they’re working to make money so that someday they’ll be able to do what they want. Unfortunately, far too often people run out of life before they make the change and headed in the direction they wanted to go. For many things, the journey will take you a long time, don’t wait too long to begin heading in the right direction.

Are there things in your life you need to re-examine? What goals should you abandon and what will you need to dedicate yourself to?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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Your thoughts are holding you back.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Negative thoughts

Unhelpful negative thoughts.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How many of these unhelpful thoughts do you have?

Some thoughts can help you get things done, others can hold you back.

If you regularly have any of those unhelpful thoughts they may be undermining your progress. Identifying your unhelpful thoughts and working on changing them can result in a much better life.

Do you ever have these thoughts?

You expect the worst.

If you habitually, always, expect the worse, you may find that no matter what happens you see the worst in it. Believing that bad things are sure to happen is a cognitive bias that results in being quick to spot the problems in life but prevents you from seeing the good.

Shift your focus.  Learn to look for the positive and you will discover that there are a lot of good things that have escaped your attention.

You expect the lead in every play.

It is all about you? If something goes wrong do you think it is your fault? If and when it fails, do you believe that says something about you? Just because people laugh when you enter a room does not mean they are laughing at you.

This unwavering thought, that what happens is all about you, puts a lot of pressure on you and in the end, you will find yourself unable to do everything.

Accept that much of what happens is about others and has nothing to do with you.

People are out to get you.

Some people do have enemies, that is true. But if everywhere you go everyone seems out to get you then you are misinterpreting a lot of facts. Most people are not motivated by trying to “get you” they are too busy with their own life. It is only when you make a habit of getting between them and their goals that they may have it in for you. The best way to avoid these results is to get out of their way, that or be so far ahead of them they can’t see you up ahead.

One other possibility, along the way you have harmed enough people so that you have created the truth in that there out to get you thought.

That belief that people are out to get you is a cognitive distortion. In severe cases this is paranoia. Truth is that most of the time, most of us are just not that important to others.

The future will be bad.

This thought is sure to doom you to a life of failure and misery. The single most important thing in creating a happy life is the attitude that having the life you want is possible. Hope is the thing that helps you bounce back from being knocked down. Hope is the resiliency factor.

If you have lost hope look for it anywhere you can find it.

You insist things go according to plan.

Having a plan is good. Expecting that things always go according to your plan is setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. Leave room in your planning for the unexpected. Planning is a valuable process. Insisting that things must follow your plan leaves you unable to cope with the unexpected.

You keep waiting for the perfect time.

There may be no such thing as the perfect time for anything. Waiting for the perfect time robs you of the only time you will ever be able to start working on this project – now. If you put off action until some future time you may be unprepared when that time comes.

If there are real reasons to wait to take action make sure you are learning and practicing the skills you will need when that time comes. Begin by taking small steps in your desired direction and see how much closer you will be when the appointed time does arrive.

You do not believe in taking risks.

Life is risks. Doing nothing is a risk. Doing anything is a risk. Why not take the risk of doing something worth the effort? There are no sure things. That’s why we buy insurance, to protect us from losses when the unexpected happens.

Learn to evaluate risks. Take those risks where the results will be worth the risks.

You do not want to be different.

Everyone is different in their own way. Want to accomplish something in life? You are required to take risks and to be different. Average and same do not get noticed. Being the same as everyone else is a sure way to set yourself up for a bland life.

You are afraid to change your mind.

Only a real fool continues to insist they are right despite mounting evidence they have made an error. If you stick to a failed plan and continue to argue about your rightness you lose the opportunity to change direction and head in a new better direction.

Admit your errors and learn from them. Adjust your efforts. Errors are not the end of your options, they are only improvement opportunities.

You are afraid you will be taken advantage of.

Someone may get something from you. That is called a bargain. Learn to check out as many of the facts as possible and then take a risk. The only way to have good things happen is to do things and take chances. Avoiding risks is avoiding all the possible good things that may well happen to the ones who risk big.

The reason most people are taken advantage of? They are expecting to get something from the other person that they have not earned. That old saying “you can’t con an honest person” contains a lot of truth.

You are afraid to say no.

Saying yes to everything leaves you stretched too far and unable to do things you want to do. You do not have to do everything everyone wants you to do. Say no; just make sure your no’s are really no. Not saying no leaves others in control of your life.

You are afraid to say yes.

Not saying yes to things can be even more harmful than not saying no. We often miss out on things that could have been beneficial and pleasurable because we were afraid to say yes to an opportunity. If opportunity is knocking you have to answer the door.

Nothing good ever happens to you.

Believing nothing good can or will happen in your life leaves you blind to the opportunities all around you. Look for the things that are ungood and you will not grab the good things when they are right in front of you.

Have you fallen into the habit of practicing these unhelpful thoughts? Are you ready to get your habitual, automatic, thoughts overhauled?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.