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Ever Feel Like Giving Up?

Ever Feel Like Giving Up?

Running Give Up?

I do. It gets lonely out there traveling by myself, spending entire days without talking to anyone sometimes, hanging out in countries where I don’t speak the language and am obviously a foreigner.

My work suffers and I make a lot less money than I could if I stayed in one place for a while; sometimes I don’t make any money at all. It’s funny how people expect you to do something for them when they pay you.

Sometimes I feel like the restaurant critic who knows that no one will understand the challenges of his work. “But you get to eat for free all the time!” his friends will protest when he tries to tell them he gets tired of it or that it can be hard.

Yes, I am so fortunate that I get to write and travel. Believe me, I love it. But like that guy who eats at nice restaurants all the time, it doesn’t always work out the way everyone else imagines it does.

Sometimes the hours go by in a blur, on red-eye flights to Frankfurt and Hong Kong where the continents drift by on the navigation screen in front of me. But other times the time passes very slowly.

I sit in bus stations and third-world airports and on park benches all over the world, waiting for something to open or for someone to help me figure out how to get to Bucharest or Lagos or San Jose.

I try to make good use of the time reading and writing, but when I’m tired and jet-lagged, I mostly just wait. There’s no expense account to pay for drinks and nice meals, and finding healthy food on a budget can be challenging in some countries.

***

Dealing with critics, as any good leader has to do from time to time, makes me tired, too. It’s true that the more impact you have, the more you will be criticized. Expect it. Unless you’re hiding out in average land, the critics will find you and tell you why you’re wrong, unimportant, irrelevant, and so on.

I realized recently that my greatest weakness as a leader is insecurity. Sometimes, I’ll admit to those of you who are following this adventure, I care more about what people think of me than I care about making the right decision. I know that’s not good, and I’m working on it.

A 4-Step Encouragement Mantra for the Journey

(Note: I wrote this in first-person, for myself… but please steal and modify it for yourself.)

  • I can do it.
  • I could always have a regular life somewhere.
  • But I’ve chosen a different path.
  • And I won’t give up.

My friend Jove is running a 100-mile trail race this Saturday. I’m a runner too, but not like Jove. He runs at least 50 miles a week on average and is nice enough to let me come along for a “short” 10 mile run once in a while whenever we’re both in town.

One recent weekend, he ran 18 miles on Friday, then hiked 13 miles on Saturday with a 50-pound backpack, ran 18 more on Sunday before hiking 7.5, then hiked 6 miles back out on Monday.

Jove runs without music, and he runs almost every day. I asked him the other day, how do you stick with it? This is what he said:

I haven’t really found a lot of times where it’s not enjoyable, but this year the few training down spots I’ve hit I’ve just tried to remind myself what a monumental task a 100miler is. Also, if I get out the door and start running, I usually feel better about running. If I’m a couple miles in and still feel bad about running that day, I’ll put the long run off for another day. I haven’t really had to do that too much this year though.

The past two 50ks I’ve run, I’ve hit a low spot around miles 15-17, where the initial steam starts to fade. Luckily, I’ve managed to catch people at this time in both runs, which puts some wind back in your sails and reminds you that 50k isn’t easy for anyone.

OK, that’s cool. I don’t think that will help me run 100 miles at once, but I can use it for a marathon. Or perhaps for the train ride from Moldova to Romania when the customs guys barge in and turn all the lights on at exactly 3:00 a.m.

Two Steps Forward

Oh, one more thing. Sometimes we fall back on our world takeover plans. Things go wrong, Bangladesh doesn’t issue a visa, we get tired, etc. The only response is to keep going; the only trick is perseverance. You may take a step backwards, but you have to keep taking steps forward.

Yes, I feel like giving up sometimes. But I know I won’t. And I hope you’ll stick it out too.

Speaking of that… how about you over there on the other side of the screen? How do you keep going when you feel like giving up?

###

Image: Shefaet

231 Comments

  • Cheng says:

    Truth be told, when things get rough, I usually give up. Not forever though. But I usually stop all efforts and take a few days or even two weeks to ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. Am I happy doing what I’m doing? Is the struggle worth it? This small period of self-reflection usually reminds me of the reasons why I’m in this particular situation to begin with. And if the reasons don’t sound as convincing as they did at the beginning of my endeavor (it happens), that’s usually a clear sign to me that this might not be worth it, that I’m most likely wasting my time/efforts and should be looking at alternative solutions to my current dilemma.

  • wesley says:

    Yes, I do sometimes feel like just having a regular life rather than following the dream, but really I’m just way too stubborn, focused and good at the delay of gratification to follow through on the giving up.

  • Ariel says:

    I’m a student at MIT and consequently there are numerous times (sometimes it feels like ALL the time) during the semester when the workload really gets to me and I feel like giving up – like finals week. I’ve spent some time thinking about how to keep myself motivated and here are a few things I’ve found work for me – none of them work all the time, but almost always, at least one of them will:

    1) Music. I’ve found that music can radically change my mood, so I have compiled a “Happy” playlist and a “Workout” playlist – for use when…. well that’s obvious.

    2) Caffeine. (Caveat: this only works as a short-term fix that works over a few hours) Everyone uses caffeine when they’re tired because of the energy boost that caffeine gives you. But what most people probably don’t know is that it also makes you feel happier by increasing dopamine levels (the same way heroine and cocaine do.)

    3) Motivational quotes. I like to keep track of quotes that really speak to me and give me a different perspective. One of my favorites (unfortunately I can’t remember the exact words… or the speaker, but this is the gist of it) is: “Success isn’t getting up and working on the days you feel like it. It’s getting up and working on the days you don’t feel like it.”

    4) Talking to myself. I find this is particularly effective when I’m exercising. When I’m at the point of giving up but I know I still have something left in me to push even further, I repeat to myself something along the lines of “Don’t give up… you know you can keep going.”

    (Don’t laugh at me)

  • John Sharpe says:

    I think of going back to average and that’s not an option!

  • kirsti says:

    Usually I take a step back and think about how many things are part of the struggle. Some days, it is like the universe is trying to tell me ‘wrong way!’ and in these moments, I just surrender and think for a while. Kinda gather the forces if it were. Other days, I am just tired or one thing has got me down and it is usually an indicator of a need for rest….so I do….or I go to a garden, or better – a temple and just be for a while……Sometimes the struggle is because I really am going against who I am and what I want to do so I take obstacles as a reminder of that….

  • Janice says:

    What do I do? I keep reading your blog or go ride my bike or run with a friend. Thanks for the great insight. Keep it up.

  • Rebecca says:

    THANK YOU for this post! Last night I had a dream where my mentor asked me, “Are you sure you want to keep running your school?” and I woke up before I dreamed my own answer. Then before I could go back to sleep, I heard strange animal noises outside (I live in Durango, CO, a town of 15K, right downtown, 1/2 block off main so I assumed it was a really weird raccoon noise) and when I went outside to check it out, I was face to face with a mountain lion.

    We stared at each other for a while and then I shooed her away (she obliged-whew!). But she came back, stared in my front door at me and hung out for quite some time. It was surreal and felt like an explanation point on the question, “Do I want to keep on going?” and then I check emails and see this post from you. My answer is YES!

  • Ron McDaniel says:

    Hi Chris.

    I did a lot of traveling when I was younger, including living on some beaches. My parents were against the reckless behavior, but I had some unexpected allies. My Grandparents surprised me and supported what I was doing.

    It turns out, once you get old you look back on all the stuff you did, or you look back and think about all the stuff you could have done. I always remind myself that I am building great memories – the boring stuff fades but the adventures remain.

  • I think of my children, and the example I’m trying to set for them by pursuing my dreams instead of mediocrity. There’s nothing like responsibility for the next generation to give you back your strength.

  • Jerry Higgins says:

    Chris,

    It takes a pretty secure person to admit that they feel a bit ‘insecure’ at times…..my hat’s off to you. I’m on a mission to care less and less each day what others think about me…..It’s the ultimate challenge.

  • Benny Lewis says:

    Chris; very good point. Travel tends to help you accumulate interesting stories and so, people presume that every second of your life is non-stop fun and adventure. And people thinking that you are constantly living it up and are in no place to complain makes it even worse. The loneliness (when not travelling with someone), and the confusion and frustration in strange cultures happens to a lot of travellers. That thought is what helps me get through those blue times, like the group the Police said “seems I’m not alone in being alone” when sending out their SOS.

    I’m lucky enough to have some friends that will listen to me bitch about such things as well as hearing the superficial “guess what I did today” travel stories. Some of them are fellow globe-trotters (what would we do without instant messaging when we need it..), so whenever I’m thousands of kilometres from anyone I know, someone online is always ready to cheer me up! Otherwise, if this isn’t an option, I just think that just around the corner there may just be someone else in the same predicament and I may well just get the advice I need from someone closer at hand. I’ve related so much to even people who have never travelled when I do finally open up a little and see that deep down, we’re all not that different really.

    Your post for example reminds me and all others out there, that we aren’t the only ones feeling that way. There’s an old Swedish saying: Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow :)

  • ryan says:

    Whenever I feel like giving up I just think about what I will be settling for. I see it all around me, in the people at work, the people I pass on the street.

    I know that the minimum is not acceptable, and that the shot at greatness may not work out, but I am going to try.

    Haven’t quit yet.

  • I’ve felt like giving up so many times it’s not even funny (and I’m only 25). Like most people, I’m hesitant when facing uncertainty. 2 recent examples:

    - Travel abroad to get my MS degree when I have no money saved, no scholarship and I’d probably have to carry a significant debt for many years of my life? Done.
    - Abandon a more-than-decent paycheck to focus exclusively on my education in the middle of a worldwide economic recession? Done.

    I think we’re just fearful. We fear the prospect of failure so much that we neglect any affirmative action out of what-if, irrational thoughts (What if I waste my father’s savings and I don’t get the degree? What if I don’t get a good job once I’m done? What if…).

    How do I keep going even when I feel like giving up? I say to myself: “You have nothing to lose. What’s the worst that could happen? This is your life. You’re in control. Go for it!” As cliche as it may sound, it does work! These trite remarks usually change my mindset and mood completely in times of vacillation. I’ve learned you can talk yourself into pretty much anything. It takes time (and practice). But it does work.

  • Sandy says:

    When I feel like giving up I think of all the people cheering me on. How could I tell all those friends that “I quit” after they have told me how much they admire me and how I’ve encouraged them to step outside their comfort zone.

    I also do something really enjoyable like take my work/note book down to the lake on a beautiful day and get myself a nice iced tea. I do this around noon when all the corporate people are out trying to catch a few minutes of the beautiful weather. Usually after watching the suits and thinking of my great friends I can push on.

  • Ari Koinuma says:

    The thought crosses my mind daily.

    But then, I remind myself that when it comes to my lifework, the ONLY thing I can do wrong, is to quit. It’s not about reaching goals. It’s about trying, and enjoy the path to get there.

    I make take breaks, but I come back. Always.

    ari

  • Hannah says:

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for sharing the honesty. I think my latest insight has been – to do it anyway. I am a Ph.D. student, which also means facing yourself, your fears, aaaaall your insecurities, over and over again. I don’t get anything done, let alone produce a publish-worthy paper, unless I can somewhere find the confidence to keep going, one tiny baby step at a time.

    Over time, I have tried different things, including all of the above, – caffeine, reading inspirational quotes, reading books&blogs, going out to party, giving up, staying in bed altogether, getting mad with myself, doubting all my past choices, pushing myself too hard.

    Doubt is a good thing, too. It’s a reflection, it helps you to stay in touch with yourself and your real goals, it helps you to keep thinking whether this is really what you want.

    Having tried all these options, I realized there is only one way out, and that is to do what you want to do anyway. Get up in the morning and keep taking little steps. Make it as bearable as possible when it gets rough and believe that you will eventually get where you need to be.

    A friend once told me:
    “When the going get’s tough, the tough get going.”

    Wishing you all the best and I hope you enjoy Romania (one of my best friends is from there and I still haven’t been!)

  • Kate says:

    I tell myself that it is none of my business what other people think of me! Most of the time I actually believe it now. Thanks Chris for the great essays! Keep your chin up!

  • Because I have a problem with depression, there are certainly times when I want to give up.

    A very wise woman once told me “When I get old, I’d rather regret the things I did, than regret the things I didn’t do.” That, and the vision of living the “average” life both work like a jolt of electricity for me. I tried that – I was miserable.

    And I know that feeling that people believe your life is idyllic. I do have a good life – I work for myself, I live in a wonderful place – but I climbed a mountain of shit to get here, too. People think “working for yourself” means laying on the beach all day – ROFLMAO. Yeah, I wish. But I don’t mind working a lot – because I love what I do. So that is another thing that keeps me going – I imagine getting a “real job” – that one keeps me up at night! *shudder*

    I believe that number one thing to do when you want to give up, is stop and count your blessings, however tiny and small and unimportant seeming, count every single one of them. I promise, that will get you up and moving again.

  • Laura says:

    If I find myself getting frustrated, angry, or upset in the middle of a task, I will usually lay it aside until I calm back down. But if my problem is discouragement — Say I walked across town to the library, spent a long time there working hard, and am not looking forward to the walk back — I tell myself, “Self, what options do you have? You want to rest; but you can’t rest here. You can rest at home, and you *will* rest at home. But first you have to get there.” Then the walk turns from a long, unpleasant slog to a blip between me and my bed.

  • Rick says:

    Nice post Chris.

    Feeling like giving up seems to be pretty common to most everyone. The winners take a brief rest, look back on how far they’ve come, reassess their plans, and then get back at it.

    In regards to your statements about dealing with critics; the improvements I have made in my life have almost always had a genesis of criticism I’ve received from someone. I rarely feel bad about receiving criticism unless the critic has pointed out that I’ve hurt someone else. It sometimes takes a little time to evaluate whether I need to make a change or not, and then to figure out how to proceed, but essentially constructive feedback is the start of the path to improvement – for me anyway.

    I can’t say for sure that you’re going to visit every country in the world… but I have a good feeling that you’ll at least get really really close.

    Peace,

    Rick

  • I was quite inspired by this post because it reminds me of my own journey through life with a disability (deaf). You got it down pat with the idea of keep moving; i.e. persevering. It doesn’t mean you have to bang your head against the wall, especially if something wasn’t meant to be, but at least not give up.

    One thing you seemed to have mastered is the art of surrendering. You realize there a lot of things outside your control and therefore you don’t fight against the current. If you’re in a foreign country and you’re unable to get a VISA or your train is delayed or whatever, you seem to understand that it doesn’t do you any good to worry. Worry is wasted energy.

    I found this to be quite inspiring – keep it up. You’re a great writer and you add an element of emotion to it without really trying. That’s talent!

  • Anna says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thank you for your honesty.

    I completely agree with Shayna Walker about thinking of yourself as a good example for your children. I don’t have children yet, but i belive that if i want my future children to pursue their dreams, I would not be convincing unless I do the same myself. This pushes me every day to keep improving.

    Thank you Ariel for your useful advice.

    When i feel like giving up I keep telling myself something i heard one successful business leader say. Lars Seier Christensen: “The world is much easier than you think.” This reminds me that the obstacles I see are largerly created by myself, and that I should just go for the action instead of thinking too much.

    I once read a great book, called The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. I can recommend this book to everybody. One advice in the book is that you should embrace uncertainty. Basically it means that if something is happening without your control, welcome it to you. Don’t go for your first inclanation of resistance. Make it flow.

    Best wishes for a lovely wednesday afternoon to everybody here.

    Regards from Denmark,
    Anna

  • Robyn says:

    Like Summer, I’ve had a lifetime challenge dealing with depression and oddly, extensive travel as a child added another layer, making me feel unequal to others in yet another new neighborhood and new school. I work every day to become the person I want to be, living the life I want to live, but admit that there are many days when I am insecure about my ability to make the right decision and whether I have the right stuff to succeed.

    I get the Daily OM, I practice Chi Gong, I read blogs like this and the comments on them to get a renewed sense of purpose and strength. I know I’m not the only one struggling; not the only one to feel this way. And I hope for grace to see me through when once again I come to this place, because I know I will, and grace to accept my flaws and failures and keep going.

  • Nathan says:

    Brave article Chris. I’m glad I’m not the only one that goes through this on a daily or weekly basis. I think part of the problem is that being original and daring puts you into a class of people that separates you from the norm. Most people just don’t understand and so you are almost resigned to a live of solitude. However, having a blog like you do allows you to reach out and touch the rest of us, which I would hope is mutually beneficial.

    I often wonder whether I am walking the wrong path or just too stubborn to realize I’m not really being bold but ignorant. There is a large part of me though that just won’t settle for anything else. At the end of the day I try to remember that I’m simply following my heart and in the words of Maslow:
    “What a man can be, he must be.”

  • Daniella says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you – you know how sometimes someone says something at just the right time in your life to lift you up and keep going – well, that was your post for me this morning. I started my own business a few months ago, and of course as everyone knows that has it’s ups and downs, and even though overall I love it and want to keep doing it, I’ll admit the last couple of weeks have been more down than up. So, once again, THANK YOU for sharing your vulnerability and reminding me to keep going!

  • Jeff says:

    Great piece. I experience this frequently on 4 or 5-day business trips that go from Seattle/Kuala Lampur/Singapore/Tokyo/Seattle. I find myself sitting in a hotel thinking, “what am I doing? I could be home with family right now.”

    However, a recent quote from one of my highly respected peers says it best:

    “Only giving up predicts the outcome.”

    Carry on. Take one step after the other. Keep going. It’s never as hard as it looks when you’re done.

    Cheers,
    - Jeff

  • Kassie says:

    Hi, Chris.

    Thank you for this post. I started my own school, and I am so blessed with many wonderful colleagues, students, and students’ parents.

    This week, though, I started an entirely new type of class, using a new curriculum. A day after the first session, a colleague told me how one of the mothers who had been in the class was trash talking me and my work to the nth degree. To make things worse, this woman–both in terms of position and stature–is someone to whom people just tend to listen (to give her more authority than she is necessarily due).

    When I heard this, it really made me ask why I even bother! Learning a new curriculum is not easy, and it is not something I have to be doing, but I believe it has value for those who enroll in the classes.

    All that to say, your post is timely. So what do I do when loudmouthed critics attack? First and foremost, I remind myself to take deep breaths. I totally focus on complete inhalations and exhalations. Sometimes, that by itself gets me to thinking how amazing the ability to breathe is—how blessed I am just to be able to breathe! At the times when it works like this, I can even laugh, thinking, “What does the critic matter? I can breathe!!!” (I live for simple pleasures. Can you tell?)

    Then, I also recall all the people who have shared with me how blessed they feel by the impact I have had on their lives because of what I am doing. That combined with all the people who have invested their energy, encouragement, and other resources into me humbles me. It makes me want to be better still, to live up to their GOOD opinions of me.

    At the end of the day, does it matter what anyone else thinks of me? No, for no one else ever knows the whole story. Yet I find that focusing on the positive opinions of me that people sometimes share is incredibly motivating. (I want actually to be the amazing person they think I am!)

    There are lots of other tools in my collection for when I feel like giving up, but I’ll end with this one: I end the day, get some sleep, and start anew the next day.

    P.S. For the specific scenario I mentioned at the beginning, I also decided to give follow-up phone calls to others in the same class. I asked them whether the class was what they had expected, and I just invited feedback. Other people than the large-statured critic—in the very same class—have said they think it’s great. We can always find naysayers (even among the thoughts in our own heads), and it’s easy to let the negative voices be the loudest, overshadowing all else, and blinding us to the good and the beautiful. But if we choose to look past the critics, we’ll be able to see the rest of the picture—the positivity, joy, light, and beauty of life. If we just make that one decision (to quell the negative voices without and within), usually the rest will take care of itself.

  • Roy says:

    Hey Chris,

    A very thought provoking article! I am now in the Autumn of my life,with having to move to a new country 6yrs ago from Zimbabwe where we virtually ‘lost everything’, looking for & finding a new job, new friends, adapting to a completely new enviroment, etc.

    Many a time did that feeling of’ ‘giving up, this is so difficult, why am I here’, pass through my mind! What gets me through is the upbringing I had whilst growing up & the really strong family support that I presently have & enjoy. As they say, ” There ain’t nothing like the ties that bind!!’

  • Rick says:

    Hey Chris,

    If nothing else, based on the comments to this post, you have assembled an audience that has to be among the smartest and most thoughtful in the blogosphere.

    Even the folks that claim some serious problems seem to have it more together than most of the people I interact with on a day-to-day basis.

    Peace, Rick

  • Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Rinse. Repeat.

  • Two things I learned to do:

    (1) if what you are doing is not working, do it in some other way; a path is sometimes non linear and when a door shuts, a window opens somewhere else;

    (2) ask for help. I know this should be obvious, but being world conquerers and leaders is a fairly lonely work at times – nobody feels exactly how you feel.

    Keep up the good work, Chris, and let me know how I can ever be of service.

  • Nicholas Grobler says:

    Chris

    All the time. I feel like there must be a bush out there somewhere in the wildest of wild country that would absolutely LOVE my conversation, and I feel drawn to this bush ever so often, more in the past weeks than usual.

    It boils down to number one of your two most important questions, “What would I love to do?” and sadly I have an extremely hard time answering this question, even after all my varied traveling and learning and amazing mentors.

    It sometimes feels like there is a big black hole in the middle of my energy core and it just keeps on sucking. I remain desperately searching for the source of this black hole and trying to remove it completely, cause plugging it wont help.

    Giving up almost sounds better than slogging on.

  • Chris,
    Sometimes hard is hard. It just is. Embrace that. Let it be and look around for a part of it that is also an opportunity. Admitting weakness is a strength. You’ll find a lot of your humanity right there. What, you thought you could change the world without change happening to you? :-) Hugs. Jan

  • Cheryl says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don’t know why but it is always encouraging to hear from people who are doing amazing things that even they have those moments where they are a little less than fully motivated or inspired. What’s more important is that I see that you feel this way on occasion, but you go on pursuing your journey anyway. It’s a great reminder for me to do the same. I, too, suffer from insecurity, more than other things, and I unfortunately allow that insecurity to get in my way sometimes. I read somewhere recently that sometimes you have to get out of your own way in order to get to where you’re going (it may have been you, but I just can’t recall right at this moment). I guess this is just another one of those ways in which that statement applies.

    One thing in particular helps inspire me when I’m ready to give in. I think about the younger people in my family (my son, niece, etc.) try to keep in mind what kind of example it is that I want to set for them. It usually inspires me to make a better decision and keep moving forward. Another thing that helps is reading about others who are working toward their goals and trying to make a difference in this world. Such as you, even if it is 3am and you’re on a train with the light in your eyes :)

  • Chris says:

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    The only thing to remind yourself is that regular people give up all the time.

    When they face a challenge they would usually stop.

    So never give up…follow your path!

  • When you live an unusual life, you don’t have that unspoken chorus of agreement from society to empower you. You are more alone than most of your friends, even if you have a bunch of them.

    But if you stick it out, and try to learn as best you can about what you do, and who you are — you become an individual and you grow strong. It is not always a pleasant experience, but it is always rewarding.

    A day at a time gets me through, and keeps me grounded in the moment.

  • regiaart says:

    Hi Chris, everybody wants to know about you right now, and hope you’re OK.
    I gave up a lot of things years ago to follow my dreams. I came to New York as a single mother of 2 small kids to live my life as an artist. I had lot of ups and downs. I can not come back, my dreams and me are only one entity. Go ahead!

  • I have a career, a wife, two kids, a house, two cars and the two families (mine and my in-laws) who seem to believe that the way you solve problems is by telling me. I run, not 100 milers but long distances like marathons and little more, swim, for fun mostly, and am trying to get into triathlons.

    Trust me, there was more than one time that I decided to give up. It would so much easier… yet, I always go back to the same old thought: I won’t let the bastards win.

    Who are them? Don’t know… but they won’t win. I am too good at everything I do to let someone else win. If I lose, who will pick up the torch and complete the journey? no one else.

    No, I won’t let the bastards win.

  • Chris says:

    @Regiaart,

    I’m doing great, thanks for asking! Honestly, I’m just so amazed at what all of you have to say that I really have nothing to add. It is all very motivating and encouraging.

    Keep the faith, everyone.

  • Jonathan says:

    Chris,

    I have been feeling the same way lately. I have been questioning what I am doing. I know this sounds bad but, it is good to be reminded that we all go through these times, and we just have to keep going.

    Very encouraging post. Safe travels!

  • Seb says:

    I often find myself thinking “why bother??! its just too hard”
    It’s at times like these that i find i need to look to some reason to keep going (hmmm that shiney new model plane’s looking very nice at the moment ;)

    I find as long as i have a reason, no matter how silly it might seem to others (when i finish building this wall i get a pack of Doritos!) yes even that silly, it helps me to keep going through the hard bits… and there are lots of those.

  • When things get tough, I go to visualization. I try to use this before things get tough, but sometimes things sneak up on you.

    When I visualize, I think of all the good things that happen through the journey. As I go through the journey, I am more aware of the little things. The things that pick you up like a hug from a friend or a smile from a stranger. When I don’t visualize, I find myself listening to the negative self talk in my head. I miss so much then.

  • Mid-a-ged says:

    Late to the thread. But here anyway! Thank you for your work. I was recently introduced to your blog & I have enjoyed it and your commenters very much. But I must say, the whole approach to quitting is bit disturbing. It is totally ok to want to quit. It is even totally okay to quit. The motivation for sticking with something can be just as “bad” as the motivation to quit. You gotta fall in love with the process. Goals are, and have always been, overrated in my opinion. Beliefs about why you do something, goals you must achieve (even as noble as saving the world) and the “pay-off” are nothing more than concepts that distract one from the real thing: this instant. Really, self-identifying as a non-conformist can be just as big of a burden as any other deeply held identity. That is not to say that “being” a non-conformist is a burden. But “trying to be” or “working to be” a non-conformist, well that is a different story.

    Thanks again and I look forward to your insights.

  • Cath Lawson says:

    Hi Chris – This is a brilliant mantra. Whenever I’m feeling that way – I remind myself of the worst job I have ever had and suddenly things don’t seem so bad.

  • Sabina says:

    Chris, thank you for this post!

    What a “coincidence” that I run on this post. Lately I have been thinking on giving up very often. I question the project I’m working on – is it only my ego-trip. I’m I doing it only because I want to proof myself that I’m able achieving it.
    Is it only my illusion and thus not worth my time and effort? Am I following my soul’s true path and I’m not strong enough to overcome the obstacles?
    But as I see everyone has obstacles on his path, no matter which path he chooses to take. Maybe the alternative path seems easier at first sight, but sooner the later a blind corner will appear.
    Is giving up and choosing an alternative “easier” path really the best solution? When do you know it is time to quit because the path you have taken is leading you in wrong direction or is unsatisfying?
    I wish I would have an answers. Till then I’ll continue and hope for the best.

  • Thomas Reposa (Unemployed bum) says:

    Not sure what I do to keep through the day to be honest. I sit back and try to forget that I am stuck in my parents house, 23, with no direction or will to find something more meaningful. When I feel that kind of creeping dread, where you know you should be doing something to stop this feeling, I turn on my game console and pretend im something else. People tell me to go get a job, to do something with my life, that I need to get something going. I wish it was as easy as it sounds. Finding even a junk pissant job is hard enough, but when you have no drive to move forward, its not as easy as everyone expects you to believe it to be. Deep down, I want to move forward, but my body denies it from leting it happen. My parents don’t really understand it, Hell, I dont even understand it. Is it something beyond lazy? Or am I just that? Lazy? You seem to have a nice pace going in your life though, I am just curious to know how you do it.

  • Sabina says:

    Thomas, I can absolutely understand you because I have gone trough the same as you. Not only once. Don’t give up.
    I advice you to read books from people who made it (bot not the one that are supper achievers now), join some support group, find people/friends that are good listeners, start doing some sport.
    You have to “pump up” the positive volume in your mind and the body will follow. You are what you think you are. And don’t think this is some kind of spiritual nonsense.
    The body will do what the mind will tell it. So keep working on your mind. It’s like training for some sport achievement.

  • Hannah says:

    Hey Thomas!

    What you need is little baby steps to get out of the situation.
    I know, because I fell into a spell of inertia during the past six months. It’s a downward spiral – once you have had a couple of unproductive days, you get mad with yourself, because of which

    The only way out is being really nice to yourself.
    Set mini goals. Such as – just getting out of the house today, or doing one little thing to help out your parents, or something else YOU would like to do. Do little little things, and you will see that things will move away from inertia must faster than you expect.

  • Deborah says:

    Someone just commented on my blog today that she’d probably give up if she’d lost as many animals to coyotes as I have. (We lost 8 of the 10 lambs we had last year, and we lost two ewes in the last couple weeks, as well as chickens and ducks.) Like you, I’ve chosen to live an unconventional life, and sometimes it sucks. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Most of the time I get to have wonderful experiences that most people only read about or see in movies.

  • Jess says:

    I was feeling absurdly out of sorts today, way regretful about my life’s course, etc. and knew the only way to bring me back to my inspired high was to read a few blogs of yours.

    Thanks for being honest about insecurities and struggles and loneliness. Sometimes it feels like, to admit we’re still (*gasp*) humans, and that we get tired and lonely, makes us less “attractive” to others. It really makes us more genuine, I think.

    When the world and my decisions crash down on me, when I’m too tired to sleep, when I’m immobilized by anxiety, I repeat in my head (or out loud; whatever the situation allows) “I’m still me. I’m still ME. This is not permanent. I’m alive and it will be alright. Be aware of this moment, right now, and know that it will wash over eventually.”

    Or I get slightly pissed at myself and say, “well, get OVER it already!”
    :)

    Thanks again for being a real person.

  • Bessie says:

    like others, I’ve been feeling down about traveling lately, and your suggestions help. 8 months into a who knows how long journey, and I totally relate to your thoughts, of, ‘so many would love to be doing this so how can i dare feel down about it’. Truth is it happens though, and it helps to know I’m not the only travel lover building calluses to the wonderful experiences.

    Nice running analogy by the way, as a fellow runner, although definitely not 50ks, it’s a helpful reference.

  • Cecilia says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. Just at the right time too. I was Googling “feel like you are running out of time” and came across this. Brilliant. I’m on a journey with a young daughter. My path has taken a course i did not expect. My life is not just my own, but my daughter remains my priority and i shall not be a burden to her during my journey. Glad I found this site.

  • tim says:

    yeah, sometimes it’s hard…it is not hard when you are in the middle of a dry island, with no water left, or other dire situations while travelling. you have to keep moving…no choice….stupidity mostly on my part.

    it’s hardest when the daily grind starts setting in, same thing, over and over.

    and i am a medical doctor, adrenline junky….

    when i loose the motivation,i look where i came from….turn around and look…my impoverished family, the usual burdens of a social misfit trying to make his way in a mad society….or social system…..

    those were the battles won to get here, give up now? hell no. need to stick around and see how it all turns out….not happy with what i see around me but am happy with what i have done with myself and others…feel really good about some of the things i have been able to do for others…

    yeah, i do have bad depression..comes and goes….just like any other chronic illness, deal with it as best i can..

  • Jaime says:

    Thank you, thank you. I a new subscriber…I think you’ve already won the war against my inbox. I have been very depressed about a lot of things, mainly no work…and I am determined to start my own business and be self-employed. My motivation: freedom to do what I want to do, which begins with traveling.

  • Christine says:

    Hey!

    I just discovered your blog today! I think your way of living and thinking
    is quite amazing. So few people have the courage of living their dreams.
    I am Canadian and teach English in South Korea for the year…just like
    you I value travelling a whole lot! For that reason Ive decided to come
    here (really good way to earn good money) and to use my week-ends to
    travel around Korea and my holidays to travel in Asia. (Next trip planned :
    1 month to Lao, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand). And yes I really do feel
    like giving up sometimes… Its so nice to be able to see the world and meet
    new people, discover different cultures and all, but sometimes you just miss
    your own people : your family and you friends from back home! Even though
    you meet a lot of great people along the way, but they can never replace the ones
    you have back home (at least thats how I feel). But when Im really lonely and
    just want to go back home, I think about what Id be doing in my home country,
    what my job would be, what my life would be like. And I always get to
    the same conclusion : Yes I would see my family and my friends (and my cat!)
    and would have an amazing time, but after a couple of weeks, everyone would
    go back to their own lives and I would be as lonely back home as I am here…
    At least here I get to travel!!!
    Anyways, felt you writing to someone that can understand! TAke care and enjoy
    your trip around the world!

  • Just discovered your blog, and I’m not surprised it happened now. It came exactly when I needed it. Thank you for being there – I think you are FABULOUS and I AM NOT LETTING YOU QUIT!

    I won’t bore you or the readers with my tales of almost having given up and why and how many times. I’ll just say this: For me, giving up = death and I’m not ready to die.

    I don’t mean suicide or anything so dramatic and grim. I mean I was born with a dream, and I put off and avoided and ran from that dream for about 20 years until I slowly became miserable and my daily conformist life was like a living death. For me, there was no living without moving toward the dream. Not persevering was unthinkable, and as tough as persevering is, that is why for me giving up = death.

    If you have a big dream, if it’s been there pretty much from the beginning, from an age before you could have consciously selected it, and it haunts your every waking (and sleeping moment) then guess what? IT’S THERE FOR A REASON and the reason is you’re supposed to live it. Doing so is your gift to the world, and in turn your gift to yourself. Let’s not deny anyone our gifts.

    Chris I wish you only the best, safe travels, and many blessings.

  • Sally says:

    Sometimes its too easy to dream about just letting go, to simply loosen your grip on that which keeps you focused and sane. When perservering seems impossible and the odds are stacked, I remind myself that you only get in life that which you can handle and it seems I have pretty big shoulders. Fostering a small black child is the most monumental challenge I have taken on, and its because he needs me to be more and do more and succeed inspite of it all that I keep going. Having started his life under enormous emotional and physical duress, he needs to see an example of how to rise above it all and be more than simply the summation of his past experiences.

  • Vinodh says:

    I’m new to your blog and I love it. This post in particular is great – prefect timing. I am in love with a girl, and she seems uninterested. I was feeling low for a couple of days and this post is really helpful. Thanks!

  • Michael says:

    I’ve read this entry of yours before. Followed it with the head nods of “oh yes, I’ve been there and it makes sense.”

    Tonight is a different story. Tonight after four months of Beijing visa stagnation, one month of freefall travel and two weeks of respite in Taiwan, tonight the thought of “a regular life in the US” howls a typhoon screaming up an alley. Re-reading this post was the perfect medicine. Thanks!

  • Karen says:

    Great post – thanks for sharing it. When I feel I just can’t keep it, whatever IT is, going, I take the focus off of myself. I think about my family mostly – and how if I gave up on something or even the belief in myself, it puts into perspective just how selfish an act that would be.

  • Sandalwood Mountains says:

    I am the legacy of survivors of tough and terrible times from the old country. My illiterate immigrant parents had to leave their familiar homeland to give me the privileges of a stable and safe life, a chance at an education, and the opportunities only available to in the US. They worked 12-15 hour days, swing shifts, 2-3 jobs at a time – at times cheated and exploited by employers. They kept looking for the good even in bad times, and they keep moving forward mostly because of their love for their children but maybe they also had no other options. So after I got my graduate degree from Stanford, I chose a path less traveled. I could have moved into a comfortable middle/upper middle class life, but something inside me said not yet. So, I became a community organizer and worked with low-income immigrants who are just like my parents.

    With these folks, I worked for better work and living conditions, to end exploitation, to create better laws and policies. As inspiring is the work, there are many challenges and sometimes nastiness and dysfunction that make me cry and want to give up. In those moments, I think of my parents and what they went through. My journey takes a detour, the time line may take longer, but giving up on justice and a better world is not really an option. My role models are too strong.

  • Zora says:

    When I feel like giving up, I either pretend to give up for a few hours, or just hold on and don’t try to move (metaphorically) until it passes.

  • Carl Baumann says:

    When I wanna give up (which is often) this list helps,
    1) Music
    2) Get angry
    3) Get out (side)
    4) Change your physical state = change your mood (Tony Robbins)
    5) Have a good cry
    6) Get drunk
    7) See a friend

    Not necessarily in that order….

  • Tope Oluwole says:

    I almost gave up today. To use an analogy from the movie The Matrix, I almost chose to be Mr. Anderson instead of Neo. To forget about all the rewards of being Neo, because of the consequences of the risks. The comfort of becoming Mr. Anderson again beckoning like a deafening siren’s song. To be sure there are times when we all have chosen to be Mr. Anderson, perhaps out of fear or necessity. To chose the status quo, instead of the unknown. After all, one can’t appreciate being Neo until one has spent some time being Mr. Anderson.

  • Dana says:

    When I get discouraged and feel like quitting I remind myself that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at the time. Maybe I haven’t learned a lesson yet that will get me to the next step. Maybe I’m being held back for my own safety or because the next step isn’t ready for ME yet. It’s hard, but I have to trust the universe and stop hurling myself through life. Being forced to wait may bring my attention to something interesting that I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise!

  • stephanie says:

    honestly, I usually take time to remember how deadening it felt to work maddening hours at a finance job that I hated. I take a moment to think through the tedium of being average, of following rules, of being so easily controlled. gratitude goes a long way.

  • Devin Elder says:

    When I feel like giving up I try to take a long term view of whatever it is I’m working on. I read somewhere on this site that we overestimate what we can do in a day, but underestimate what we can do over the long run. Spot on.

    I try to condition myself to take small consistent steps every day. That way after a week or a month goes by I have all these tiny successes that pile up. That approach has worked very well in my quest to live debt free.

    I’m guilty of trying too hard and giving up on many things, so I’m always working to cultivate my marathon mentality.

  • cinders says:

    I’ve just read this string from beginning to end. I was feeling very distanced from myself after an attempt at truth with loved ones went wrong. I’m the provider, the fixer, the one who allows everyone else to do nothing because I always do something. Reading how the others here feel and cope has helped me realize that it’s ok to feel discouraged and tired sometimes – it’s natural.
    Thanks to each of you for being honest.

  • Lee Jenkinson says:

    When you’re at the point when giving up becomes a viable option, it’s very hard to pull yourself back together. It really all comes down to a very simple decision: will quitting now benefit me in the long run, or hurt me?

    But one thing we all should acknowledge is that choices are one of the few things we control in our lives, and they should never be considered lightly. The choices we make ultimately determines who we are.

  • Allie Riley says:

    Thanks Chris.
    This is great. It´s exactly what I needed to hear today. I´ve been living in South America for over a year now and I just called my mom today and told her I want to come home… when just 2 or 3 weeks ago, I was blabbing about how great it is to live in a foreign country. It´s impressively awesome at times and impressively sucky at times. I use the mantra ¨keep going… keep going¨ similar to yours.
    Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration!
    Allie

  • Tisa says:

    Thanks for this great reminder that one step back does not have to determine your ultimate direction. For me, I allow myself to have “pause” moments, but the addiction to forward motion gets me going again.

  • Carlo says:

    I quit once… for a short period of time; about 2 months. When it was over and said and done, my email box had a little more than 14,000 unanswered messages waiting for me. Now, whenever this “quitting nonsense” crosses my mind, it serves as a reminder that I will not allow this to happen to me ever again.

  • Elle Lyzette says:

    The past week has been most challenging in my own head as I have reflected on life decisions I have made that have left me in a financial pickle at present. Feeling as if I might “give up”, I always know that isn’t an option for me. My adventures include working on a fishing boat in Alaska, adventure junkie activities and travel to many exotic locals…no regrets. Now I am a 46 yr. old mother of a 9 year old daughter with countless life stories to share with her. Wouldn’t want it any other way. Glad I read this post today. I needed it.

  • Terry says:

    When you visualize life as a timeline and that most of us will have 75+yrs here, then realize that what ever the current situation or issue is that is giving you pause or allowing you to consider quiting, it is but a blip, a little speck on that timeline.

    (as a side exercise, pull out a piece of paper and draw a horizontal line on it. put 75yrs at the far right end and then mark the spot that represnts this moment, this challenge, this desire to give up, on the timeline. Not real significant is it? Now do this in light of eternity)

    I sometimes find myself in the middle of a 1 day, 1 week or even a 1 month mental/emotional battle over whether to quit and move on, find the next gig, the next path or passion. Realize that it’s ok and that getting thru those battles and perservering is the real victory. That’s what makes you who you are, not necessarily obtaining or reaching a specific destination.

  • Jon P says:

    I like the advice I read somewhere (can’t remember just now) that says: If you’ve gone the whole day without getting anything done, just do one small thing to make progress before you go to sleep. For the sped-up world we live in, this can apply to individual hours as well. Just get one small thing done, and then another.

  • Dear Chris – I confess I don’t share your passion to travel and see the world – I guess moving every three years or less first as the daughter of a Marine and then as an Army wife, has shortened my list of places I want to visit, and focused me on home, and my passion to help others create or restore the feelings and harmonies and function they want in their homes. But years in the design field didn’t prepare me for going into business for myself when my employer went under.
    Today, your post came, and after reading it, I found this older thread, which was encouraging to me on a day when I thought I would have accomplished more. When I am overwhelmed, or giving myself negative self talk about what I should have accomplished today, I pull out my favorite quote from Rich DeVos: Overcome the negative by doing the positive. No matter the situation, when I assess the negatives I cannot control, or may even have contributed to, and then look for positives I can do to overcome them, there is always at least one step I can take which moves me in the direction to which I want to go.
    The day I cannot change, they can put me 6 feet under. I still have my Pogo T-shirt (are you old enough to even know who that is?): “We have met the Enemy and He is Us.” We have to work as hard on ourselves as we do on whatever other change we want to see in the world.
    Many of our strengths are also the source of our weaknesses. My ability to juggle a lot at one time, comes at a price of distractibility at times. But paired with my husband, whose huge ability to focus and concentrate is paired with a certain obliviousness to everything else when he is focused on one thing: together, we are a great team. Sometimes, finding a business coach, a counselor, or calling a friend, someone who can help you get a different perspective, is another way forward.
    As a Christian, I also know that giving up the current challenges to the Lord, and praying with a mind open to an answer coming in time, will often show me that my timing is not the Lord’s, and whatever delayed me, or set me back, is often later revealed to have been a good thing, for God has the ability to take what we give Him, including the setbacks and challenges, and turn it to the good. On rough days, I turn to a prayer partner, through my church’s prayer line. Often the answer comes quickly.
    This is your blog, not mine, and so this answer is too long. But thank you for allowing me to share on this topic.

  • Eon says:

    I try to remind myself that because I already thought of this goal it is already achieved. The thing is day by day while I am moving towards my goal everything is a part of that goal. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second is part of it. The people you meet, even the shows you watch, and music you listen to give you something. The key is to always understand I will have those moments and know that at times I might have missed something or I am over thinking things. Let things happen naturally. In the low points there is something there for me to understand about myself. Whatever it is, it blocks me from staying focus. Once I truly look at myself to see how and why I am reacting or feeling this way I open myself up to moving forward. Now I understand how to run the next 50 miles in the 100 so to speak. This is not thinking positive and everything is great. It is constantly learning about myself and that is the hardest part.

  • TJ says:

    Thanks for this post. This is very encouraging to me as I really feel like giving up. I have recently been laid off, I am having marriage challenges and doubting all of my decisions in the past. I also had a career that I hated for years. Now I am moving into teaching and starting my own business — but doubting myself because when i was in the job I hated I had money and security but now I do not have that. I want to move past doubting myself so that I can move forward. I have 2 children, so it is not an option to give up. But I just need the strength — which I feel like I do not have now.

    Reading everyone else’s posts however, gives me some encouragement to move on today.

  • Joe says:

    Mama always use to say, “Put one foot in front of the other, keep going, and it will all be fine.”

    I have found this to serve me well when things don’t always look so bright.

    As much as I don’t want to sometimes, by “keeping on” despite the situation, things tend work themselves out.

    I also find motivation in Calvin Coolidge’s quote, that is taped to my desk:

    “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”

  • Cary says:

    I’ve felt like a failure much of this past year and if I think careerwise, I definitely fit the definition of a failure. I feel like the reason I’m a failure is because of the way the operatic music business is rigged. It’s just rigged not matter what. After 23 years of studies, and ivy league degree = $0! Doing something because you love it doesn’t mean that the dream will come true it just means that you were able to spend some of your time here on earth doing what you love to do. Wish others loved it too. With out others, my dream cannot come true. There has to be an audience and I cannot find one.

  • Kanami Anderson says:

    Whenever I feel unmotivated and a little down I read this quote and then I fly out my door to tackle another sweet challenge.

    “Only by pushing mere existence until it screams and distorts does it become honest. Otherwise it gets soft. It hides and atrophies. Desperation keeps me honest. It’s why I travel and work hard and put myself into situations I have to fight my way through. It’s the only way I can reach truth. It is not an addiction. It is not because of compulsion or impulse but a dissatisfaction with the mediocre and easily understood. At this point, the information I seek can only be attained in extreme environments. Isolation. Exhaustion. Being away from that which is familiar. Being in situations in which I must utilize all I’ve got. I don’t want a woman to be close to me. I don’t want shelter from the storm. No kindness or perceived safety in intimacy do I seek. Many years ago I was different. Now I just want to walk the chasm.” -Henry Rollins

  • Sean Inman says:

    There are times when I just have to act like a Roomba. Turn my brain off and keep going. If I hit a wall, I either turn left or right. Most importantly don’t focus on what you can’t do, do what you can. Roomba’s clean floors. They do what they are built for. I try to do the most I can with the skills I have.

  • jacen says:

    …I’m sat in a hotel working on a illustration for a client on the other side of the world whilst traveling around the world with no end date…having sold up ….just a backpack and a airbook is all i have……i feel like whats the point sometimes……then i stumbled on this site and found someone else with the same thoughts……now i feel ok again and remember why I am doing this………nice!…keep it up.

  • TJ says:

    I just came across your blog recently and really enjoy it. This article also struck a note with me because I ran that same 100-mile race as your friend Jove. I can say without a doubt that I sometimes feel like giving up. But, like in that race, you have to know when it’s OK to give up and when it’s not. I injured my Achilles in that race very badly and limped the last 15 miles to the finish, but it was not OK to give up (for me, anyways). Other times in my life, when things weren’t so important and so many sacrifices hadn’t been made to get there, I think it’s critical to know when to let go, and save yourself (time, energy, attitude, etc) for another day.

  • mel says:

    I feel like giving up all the time. My trying times are a little different than yours. i hate my job and I try and try to make money online but nothing seems to help. My wife and I seem like strangers but I SAILOR on (US Navy Reserve ) because I can not think of a time I wasn’t struggling. If you saw my house or wife or family you might think I was crazy but I thought I would be farther along by now.
    Thanks for the positive message.

  • Majeska says:

    In my line of work (community organizing, almost no pay) I often feel overwhelmed to the point of utter incapacitation and wonder if I should just give up. It always helps me if I just sit awhile thinking about Nelson Mandela (and people’s struggles everywhere). Then baby steps again, however little they need to be. Also reminding myself I don’t want to give the “other side” the satisfaction of wearing me out and making me give up. Pretty soon it becomes fun again. (-:

    I am blessed to feel meaning in my work and my life. I doubt if I would have gotten here if I hadn’t for years taken a very unusual path and followed my heart, which actually for me seems the only thing I can do — until I feel overwhelmed and incapacitated and want to give up… Then at some point, I think again about Nelson Mandela (and people’s struggles everywhere), get myself up and take baby steps again, etc.

    Chris, I appreciate your blog. Lots of wonderful comments above, too. Thanks, everyone!

  • Jill says:

    First and foremost, I am very much enjoying your “assault on my inbox” — thank you. Second, you’ve clearly attracted an interesting following — I get a lot out of your commenters’ comments, which is highly unusual. In response to the above, I often found, when traveling abroad, that I LIKED what I resent/despise here at home: the feeling of being a part of the commuter crowd headed to their cubicles. Interestingly, when I timed my trips to the AmEx office for mail (I realize I’m dating myself) to coordinate with the morning rush hour, I felt more a part of the rhythms of the country, buoying my spirits and easing my loneliness, at least for a time. I also I got a truer picture of life in, say, Cairo than I did riding a camel around Giza.

  • My husband died almost 5 years ago never doing so many of the things that he was “going to do someday”. His death has now given me the chance to concentrate totally on my art work. Of course I hit a low point now and then…..the studio can get really depressing after a week with no outside contact. But there’s always a remedy….go visit friends, pack my stuff and go paint on location, go on a photo shooting trip. Lots of options. I wear an engraved bracelet that says “No fear, no excuses, no bullshit”. Sometimes I read it a couple dozen times a day. There’s always a handy excuse for not doing something…..learn to break that habit.
    And once in awhile just have a day where you drink beer, eat junk food and watch movies. :-)

  • monica says:

    @sandra hynes: I love your mantra:“No fear, no excuses, no bullshit”. it’s awesome!
    you’re very inspiring!

  • @ Monica: Thanks! It really does work, although sometimes I have to say it often and loudly. Especially when I realize the whining noise I sometimes hear in my head is me. :-)

  • pam says:

    Chris, The depth of your questions is equal to the quality comments from your readers. Bravo! Thanks for taking a chance and sharing, prompting a thread of wonderfully inspiring, thoughtful and honest answers… just what I needed to read today to start off another week into the unknown.

  • emma says:

    When times are the absolute hardest for me, when giving up isn’t an option but I wish it was: hellishly seasick on deck of a sailboat heeled 30 degrees, terrible day at work, whatever, here’s what I do….I just tell myself, “I can live for another 5 minutes. I can make it that long.” I keep doing that until I am back at the dock, the contract is over, whatever. Five minutes is more manageable then “this too will pass… in an undetermined amount of time.”

  • Megan says:

    Something that helped me recently during a really lonely, scary week was to make a very specific list of all of the people I did not wish to feel the way I feel. If I knew they were feeling that way I’d want to do something. And you know they feel the same way about you probably, so you remember you’ve got these all these little psychic soldiers on your side. Very helpful.

  • Ilse says:

    Reading the list of comments has been as impactful as the post itself. It emboldens me to hear the stories and to know we all struggle, stumble, sometimes fall and then get up.

    I’m recently on a fresh path. Economic factors made my role “redundant”…or as I prefer saying, my job dumped me. And it’s exactly what I needed! I’m also fortunate to live and work in the Netherlands as have breathing space. In July I felt like giving up, BIG style. Watched a lot of NCIS and Gossip Girl and had waaay too much wine. Now, I’m taking control.

    Will be working for myself come January and until then….going off to travel and visit the people important in my life (which is how i found this blog). Surely expect to stumble and maybe I’ll fall, but then, I’ll get up, dust of and keep on, keeping on.

    Thank you all for taking the time to share and lift my spirits and better my day. And thank you Chris for sharing your experiences. Grateful to each and every one of you!!

  • Sonia says:

    I do feel like it. And sometimes, I do. I feel like am idiot…a coward. Then I forget about it. But, when I look back I wonder why I ever gave up? Why didn’t I try? All I would be making is a memory. Nothing else. But, I gave up and the time has passed.

    But, today after reading this….I have hope. That maybe just 4 lines can do it.

    *fingers crossed*

  • Marilyn says:

    Thank you for writing about this. Your words have found me at the right time (as they do)! I have been contemplating giving up what I absolutely love doing or maybe just shelving it a bit or putting it on the back burner while I go back to work and start earning some money again.

    So the going is tough for me at the moment and that’s ok because it is not an indication to give up just part of the process. Life is balanced (as annoying as that sometimes is) and if the path was easy and had no obstacles our own growth would not be as magnificent.

    Thank you, I’ll keep taking the next step regardless of how hard it feels to do.

  • Hazel Vargas says:

    Quotes to ponder:
    Unknown: When I get old, I’d rather regret the things I did, than regret the things I didn’t do.
    Icelandic proverb: Mediocrity is climbing molehills without sweating.
    Lily Tomlin: Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.
    William Winans: Not doing more than the average is what keeps the average down.
    Nancy Thayer: It’s never too late—in fiction or in life—to revise.
    Friedrich Nietzsche: He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
    Henry Ford: When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt: When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

    . . . and the clincher:
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
    – Elwyn Brooks White

  • This is a great post. I applaud your bravery in admitting that you want people to like you. It’s also a big factor for me as well. Criticism hurts no matter what kind it is. When you are passionate about something it is hard to understand that others simply do not care about it.

    Every time I start to second guess myself, I remember one of my favorite quotes:

    “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinion, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”~Oscar Wilde

    It reminds me that I don’t want to be like everyone else!

  • I take after Seth Godin’s Dip. Before beginning a task (or more accurately a Dip), I specify the conditions under which I will quit. I commit to paper, and whenever I feel like quitting I look at that piece paper to see if any of the conditions on the paper have been met. If not, I keep pushing.

  • Jennie Floyd says:

    Hi Chris –
    There are many times when I feel like giving up. I’m a 51-year-old actress in LA who didn’t start acting until I was 42, and sometimes I let all the cliches about how hard it is for women over 50 to get work in this town get to me. I don’t have a lot of support from my family, including my husband, so I have to look for it elsewhere. And I usually turn to blogs like yours, or “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, or go to Beliefnet or Sojourners and get inspired by the words I find there. Sometimes I just go to the Hunger Site and click and feel good about doing good by just pointing and clicking. I try to stay connected, somehow, to people who love me and support me on my path, and to those who are on a similar path. And I pray and check in regularly with my higher power, to make sure this path I’m taking is still the right one. So far, so good! I just want to tell you again how much I love your writing and what you are doing. You are an inspiration to me!

  • Sam Crespi says:

    I enjoyed the honesty of your post and it was wonderful to read all the comment! So many of us in unity and is this strange and wonderful time of a planetary cleanse, of global and personal mind shifts! I traveled for 10 years without returning to the States, and even though I was with my then husband, there were lonely times, which were deeper, more isolating in places where I hadn’t yet learned the language.. at the same time, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything..now I’m in my 60s and for the last few years have continued to lead a nomadic life in body, mind.

    Spirit is what keeps me anchored. Curiosity is a driving force in my life. There was a time when I believed we were born ‘alone’…but I think that it’s age and one’s insecurities which take us down the ‘alone’ road. And believe me, there are moments and places I find myself alone with my shadows. I look forward to reading more of your work!

  • Karen Nardella says:

    I do not know yet as I am at this exact juncture. I will let you know when I come throught he other side of “I do not know what to do next”. In an effort to work it out, I am reading your site and Paul Myers too.

  • John says:

    I say if the end result is good, then persevere.

  • flip says:

    if i feel like giving up on something, i take some time and go to some place quiet. i would think about that ‘thing’ if it’s worth keeping or maybe it’s just time to give it up. if it’s worth fighting for it, i’ll fake a smile on my face and would think alot of happy thoughts until a real smile takes over the fake one.

    but recently, i just learned to flow with life’s spontaneity. as long as whatever im doing feels right for me, even if it’s not achieving the success that im expecting or regardless if people are throwing harsh criticisms on it… i would still pursue it.

    i think life is just an experience that we need to go thru… im just trying to enjoy every single bits of it, regardless if its good or bad…

  • RoX says:

    When I feel like giving up I deliberately take a step out of the picture. I remember all the times in my life I wanted to give up before on different “quests” :) and I ask myself:

    1. On the things I gave up, did I feel better about it afterwards?

    2. On the things I didn’t, how was the usual process?

    Most of the time, the answer to question #2 looks like this to me:

    1. I felt lonely and misunderstood. How I wished I was a baby instead of a grown-up so I could just sit down and cry!

    2. The world didn’t stop just because I was having a hard time coping so while days kept passing by I eventually started calming down.

    3. With the days (ok, sometimes it took me weeks) I was in a different standpoint concerning my former “huge” obstacles.

    4. Everything looked bright again, I was motivated, remembered why was I here for and I was ready to get back on track!

    Since I already know how will this look like I just let things happen, I don’t worry, I don’t quit, I don’t give up!

  • Adriana Hill says:

    I know this post some time ago, but I wanted to write because I am from Romania and my biggest fear in life is settling into mediocrity. I am in the States for decades now and living in suburbia, mother of 2 and recently had to take the plunge from conventional work. I found that going counter to my dreams, doing other people’s meaningless work, actually was bad for my health.

    I think many women feel this way we just don’t admit it. There are times when it’s very lonely doing the new work I created, and I get discouraged, too, and then I remember the agony of mediocrity and it always straightens me out.

    Clearly, you are not travelling for the glamour of it. Sometimes romance is not glamorous either, but it gives life a very special meaning. I will be thinking of you often this year as I reach out to women and working mothers, blogging, speaking, and hitting the road to build the work.

  • Ayhtnic says:

    Hey, thanks a lot for these lines. I really enjoyed reading this article and it has a lot of impact in how I actually feel when all was turning gray and I was starting to give up, but I have to face my own obstacles and find a reason to go on.
    I chose this path and I think it´s fine. I´m a pediatrician and working for children is the best I could ever do in my life. I´m ready to take the life as it is…a risk itself.

  • Christine says:

    Its great to read these and see how others fair in their battles to pursue what they are really after

    I often feel like giving up, because it seems that my ideas are too big and adventurous. The slight possibility that I could fail in any way, (those pesky what-if statements) have been holding me down until now, I’m slowly learning to push those aside and just go for it.

  • Jesse says:

    I remind myself that it’s always challenging traveling uncharted territory. I try to silence the voices in my head that say, “What are you doing?!” I know that while I’ve made choices that others question, as time passes, I see the real benefit of those choices. And when those things don’t work, I go to bed early. Everything always looks better in the morning.

  • lavonne says:

    I’m going through a patch of give-up-itis right now, so I’m mustering all the weapons I can find and remember:

    1. Reading inspiring people like you and your commenters.

    2. The lessons I’ve learned from reading authors like Pema Chodron — when you’re feeling an uncomfortable emotion like (in my case) fear, what does it actually feel like, physically? For me, it’s a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach combined with an ache in my arms. Noticing the physical aspect of an emotion helps you step outside it and become an observer, which often relieves the discomfort considerably.

    3. Finally, I remember my own experiences of dealing with fear in the past. Sometimes I’ve let it get the best of me and regretted it; that’s motivation to not repeat the experience. Other times, I faced the fear and and reaped great benefit: I’ve done it before – I can do it again.

    I’m running through all of these over and over at the moment, knowing/hoping that eventually I’ll get through this too.

  • DaT says:

    I know its tough sometimes. Giving up just sound so easy to do but deep down inside would it be a better place if you stop leaving your foot prints behind. I ask myself this question whenever i feel like giving up. My only answer is NO. So i keep pushing forward until i succeed. I dont look back. I dont look to the side. I just keep pushing forward until i succeed.

    I’m always looking for new things to do and at times fear stops me on my track but i remind myself that i have overcome lots of hurdles. I hate to be comfortable. I love change. Keep your head up Chris and keep pushing forward. You inspire me. Thank you

  • Heather says:

    Thanks for this article… it’s helpful to know that others get stuck and afraid to move forward sometimes too.

    I know I won’t go back to the “regular job” lifestyle – it never suited me and it never will. However, I realize now that my strongest reason for doing what I’m doing is to NOT GO BACK to the “jobby job” as I call it. That isn’t motivation enough though on the lonely mornings when I’d rather stay in bed than get up and try again to connect with people, make a difference and earn a decent living. I love the freedom I have, but I don’t use it well at all.

    Your article, and some of the comments I read, have inspired me to go deeper and try to discover a bigger “Why” for living the non-conventional life. Wish me luck!

  • Lex Mosgrove says:

    I use TMT. That’s three minute therapy, and really helps beat those feelings of hopelesness for me. I also remind myself of what I’ve already achieved/learned/improved, and the price I paid for that.

    Right, and reading blogs like yours, that have the habit of giving me exactly the right ideas at the right time, and proving that there is indeed a chance to be succesful that way.

  • Archie says:

    When I’m tired and its all got too much, I tend to cry a bit. Pull myself together and tell myself Ive not been beaten before, cant break my track record. That and my wife usually gives me a clip round the ear and a hug and then its all good again :)

    Im still working on escaping my conventional life, Im giving it up by the 31st December this year, ready or not.

  • Wonderful article and a truly inspirational blog. I have been reading you blog for over a year now and I have been very inspired by many of your unconventional ideas. Hopefully one day I can write about my own unconventional ways of living.

    Thank you for writing this blog.

  • Sheryl says:

    I think in life we all face those moments of frustration and loneliness no matter what we do, at moments like these it may be helpful to have a pre-made list of the reasons why you decided to do what you do, if all else fails you could always tune in to the ‘four seasons’ by Vivaldi. Classical soup for the wary soul. On the other hand with all your awesome followers i am sure some very organized person in your tribe would love the task of organising groups that would travel with you around the world- maybe no more than 10 people at a time on a limited basis-there is power in numbers. Best wishes.

  • I feel like giving up now, right now, right this very second.

    But I won’t. I’ve learned to recognize that it’s cyclical (as a woman mostly hormonal). The second guessing, comparing to others, etc. all comes from insecurity and now I try to attack it by getting in touch with my peeps that will encourage or act as my sounding board. AND I try, as I am right this very minute (or as soon as I finish typing this), to remember why I started to begin with and to do what *I* know how to do without getting self absorbed.

    Today will be one of those down and I hope I come out on the other end stronger for it.

    Thanks for your encouragement. I’m looking forward to reading your manifesto and other free stuff. Free is good.

  • Sumgai83 says:

    Me? I’m really, really tired. I hope to be one of the top graphic storytellers out there one day.

    I spend most of my spare time practising drawing. I also have a full time job to pay the bills.

    And people around me think that I’m just wasting my time. That I’ll never make it. Worse of all, they say “Bah. Drawing. What an insignificant thing to do. Now marriage, girlfriends, buying things…those are much more useful and meaningful.”

    I’m damned tired most of the time. How long does this have to go on?

  • Jean Kotzur says:

    I have reached the age of 65 and know now that the feeling of ‘giving-up’ occurs when the body or mind has reached a level of exhaustion. A normal healthy person does not give up he turns his mind to something completely different. Just look around and see how many disadvantaged people there are who are making the best of their lot. I have noticed that people who are wheelchair-bound are the ones
    most likely to smile at you when you pass by. If you feel as if you cannot face the day, go to the park and look at all we have to enjoy. No, I am not religious, I have just lived a little.

    Jean

  • Oh yes… right about now in fact. But I know the only response is to push on through to the point where it’s great again. Because it will be fun once more. The positive thing about it is that *always*, by the end of a down period in the cycle you’ve learned something new about yourself, and/or refined more clearly what it is that you want or need in your life in that moment.

    Right now I’m realising where my traveling to this point has err’d and I’m working overtime to right it again and by doing so, I’ve learned bag loads.

    Nah, never give up – brighter skies are always just around the corner.

  • Emilie says:

    When I feel like giving up, i think it’s just a tiny moment, and continue with nothing but positive thoughts. It’s all a mind game. I do not waste time thinking debating. My mantra is “just do it and don’t think about it!”

  • Akshata says:

    Wonderful blog! When I feel like giving up I tell myself that the only direction one can move is forward. And reading Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ helps a lot …

  • Alex says:

    I actually pretty much follow that mantra and power through. If it’s really bad, though, I just go to sleep and deal with it in the morning.

  • sonja says:

    Fear. Always fear. Well, you can’t go back so you might as well keep moving forward. And you find that when you take the next step a little bit of the fear disappears. As Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” But your posts are wonderful – you are as articulate as I would like to be!

  • Lucille says:

    I’ve been a designer/artisan doing my own thing since 1980 except for a short term job to pay for magzine ads. I learned 2 important things. Trust your instincts..the more you rely on them the sharper they become. The second is never give up..you may need to alter course from time to time but don’t give up.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and information.

  • Amanda Fuller says:

    I only focus on what I can do today. I lost my job on Friday and if I were to sit and think about what the next couple of weeks or months are going to be like I would get so overwhelmed that I wouldn’t leave my room. So, instead I make a list of things to accomplish for the day and it helps to build my self-esteem. Instead of beating myself up about not having a job I can pat myself on the back for what I have done that day. It doesn’t even matter what those things are its just that I have set attainable goals and am able to accomplish them. Doing something, anything really, just makes me feel better.

  • Quick says:

    Sometimes I feel like giving up too. But whenever that happens, I think of my vision. I think of the image in my mind, of who I want to be. I remind myself of what I am striving for: the goal I’ve set up in the beginning. I also remind myself of how I felt or what I said when I set that goal. Didn’t I tell myself that this is what I am passionate about? That doing this makes me feel my best?

    I also go back to the list of reasons why I want to accomplish that goal. Going over those reasons takes me back to that moment when I was all excited and giddy about that new-found dream/goal. Then, my mind is refreshed and I begin to have that same perspective. At the same time, reading the list allows me to evaluate my reasons, if they are still relevant or sensible. I ask myself again if they still hold true. I might need to erase a few, add more or maybe zero in on one all-important reason. This is how I basically deal with the times when I feel like giving up.

  • Viv says:

    As a mostly reformed agoraphobe, I found myself “accidentally” in a job that involved a fair bit of travel around the UK, often having to navigate a foreign coach driver around England in order to get the students to the places they needed to go to. As an offshoot of that I ended up working for a related company that takes English kids onto the Continent for educational and cultural trips. This involves a lot of anonymous hotel rooms, weird food, long hours and getting to see cool places and getting paid for it.
    The agoraphobia still surfaces from time to time but so far, no one has noticed; I’ve learned to hide the hyperventilating and the panic attacks…
    I’ve not given up yet but do feel like it at times…

  • Berthold says:

    After getting knocked down 10 times, winners get up an 11th time.

  • the voice that kicks in when I want to give up always says, “I’ll be god-damned if I am going to settle for less than what it is I truly want!”

    that fierceness reminds me what I’m made of.

    it is a lonely road sometimes, though. but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    I love your site. thank you.

  • in a nutshell, yes. all the time. everyday i have thoughts of ‘what the heck are you doing trying to make it as an indie artist?!’…and then i give myself a pep-talk and go on. what else CAN i do? i’m an artist! thanks for all this great content. wow.

  • Felicia says:

    When everything goes wrong and I just want to cry…then I just cry. It’s so simple.

    Once I have that release, I feel ten times better, my head is clear and it’s easier to get my thoughts back in order and keep right on going. :)

  • Keely says:

    I try very hard to find something that truly reminds me down to the soul that… There is probably always an easier way. And easier doesn’t always mean BETTER. Balance is important and it’s smarter to take the bad and find the good in it than try to abolish it. One will probably get you some where, the other will drive you crazy for years to come.

  • Sheila says:

    When things get tough, I troll my friends for ideas, activate my brain by doing creative things, rest, eat something fulfilling and tasty, read, listen to new music, walk, connect with my family, go to the movies, grab a cappucino and read at the café, among a billion other things.

    All of these things help me to press reset, or restart. They diffuse the frustration so I can see clearly. They help me be patient, so my perspective can widen or focus, depending on what I need.

    I’m learning how to use the exubereactor that I am, for good, and to forgive myself when I make mistakes.

    Sending love to all of you!

  • Brett Henley says:

    Reminding myself that the alternative is much worse, and that living behind a desk being pounded over the head daily with phone calls, meeting requests and inane (and often completely ludicrous) to-do’s from suit-and-ties … that keeps me pushing forward for something more fulfilling.

  • Stephey says:

    This reminds me of a quote by Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who DID NOT realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” When I was younger I strived for a fear free life and practiced warrior ship by way of slaying all that dare get in my way, including myself. It wouldn’t be until many years passed, from suffering the lie of a mindscape (to be strong is to be free of fear and full of passion) that I’d come to accept the truth – to be strong and free is to practice the art of beginning and continuing – again and again – especially in the embrace of loneliness, doubt or fear. Not to “should” on ourselves with this or that but to preserver despite this or that – not to survive but thrive despite this and that. This and that is a disease that will plague you with distraction, distraction from fulfilling that which is being called within. There is no magic bullet to those who complete what they seek. none. they simply choose to do it despite – anything.

  • I try to remember the story of the king who asked a ring-maker to make him a ring that would sustain him in bad times and restrain him in good times. The ring-maker soon delivered the king a simple ring with the words, “this too shall pass” etched on it.

    -RLH

  • John says:

    I try and talk to people back home as much as I can and just fantasize about the things I miss about being home. I also remind myself that it’s going to be over soon.

  • Cecelia says:

    When I find myself saying, “Well…this isn’t *that* bad.” That is my cue to step it up a notch and push on. ;-)

    (Because, by hearing myself say that…I realize that it isn’t *that* good either…it just is what it is.)

  • Nice post, it’s good when people admit that it’s not always easy, even when you are doing something you love. Sometimes you have to step back and remind yourself how lucky you are and appreciate it again.

    But more importantly, life is about going with the flow. I don’t mean it’s all just chill and easy, but it shouldn’t be a constant struggle either. If you find your life is hard and everything is a struggle, then I believe that this is a message that you are not on the right path. If you are on the right path, then like Chris, you’ll have days where you feel low and maybe even want to give up, but there’s always something in your core that just tells you to keep going, because you know you are doing what you should be doing. As with all things in life, trust your gut.

    And remember, it’s okay to give up if what you are doing is really not your thing!

  • Gerry V says:

    As long as we understand “know what you want and what you are willing to give up to get it” We know inside what makes us happy. Understand that all we seek to achive and accomplish will be determined by how easily we are intimidated.
    I adhere to my rule. Everyday must have some moments of “giggles and grins”

    Grins,
    V

  • Jodi says:

    When I get here, I will often ask myself this question “if not this, then what?”. That usually leads me to see and consider many other possibilities, evaluate them against the current choice and then make another choice – recommit or redirect – no judgement, just action.

  • How do I keep from giving up? Keep working. I try to stay solution based and when I have to I call a really good friend and she keeps things in perspective. I am really lucky to have the life I have and I just need to keep moving forward.

    The past is to be learned from. That’s all!

  • Henry says:

    I can’t stress how lucky I am that I found this amazing movement of non-comformity. Thank you so much Chris, I have nothing but admiration for what you are working hard everyday for.

    For me giving up and quiting will always be in the back of my mind because I think it’s only natural, a human instinct. Especially when quiting and giving up can be so hard to decipher these days. Letting things be and letting it flow it’s natural current can be a deadly trap and illusion to fall victim of.

    As I get older and more mature I am finding it even harder to diffrentiate and separate the two. Between giving up and letting things be. Obviously quitting is never a good thing, but many people’s advices are to just “let it be” and “If it’s not meant to be, it is not meant to be”. Maybe those same people that give me those advices are just plain “haters”, but I find that many are also hugely successful in their careers.

  • Henry says:

    Having Said all that…. Whenever I reach that low point, on the verge of giving up and quitting. I just remind myself…. that’s what ordinary and average people do all the time. That really is the normal thing to do, it is the norm… So I just keep reminding myself that if I don’t want to be like everyone else, I have to be persistent and never give up.

  • Val says:

    Sometimes you have to give up what you think you want to get what you really want. I finally decided to give up on my dream of a career in graphic design, but only because I realized that it was a poor substitute for my true dream of being a fantasy artist like my hero, Frank Frazetta. The day I saw his “Death Dealer” painting and thought “Wow! I want to make cool art like that!” was the day I set out on the path to becoming an artist. Somewhere along the line, I got sidetracked into pursuing a career in graphic design because I doubted I could succeed as a fantasy artist.

    Thanks to your book, four years of rejection and outright hostility from art directors, and a year of art school that gave me a bum shoulder and mega-stress from sleep deprivation, I’m finally back on the path to making cool fantasy art. I’ll have to learn how to draw left-handed and take the “Rockstar” route to support myself until I’m a full-time fantasy artist, but the journey will be worth it!

  • Shirley Tomlin says:

    Response to Lavonne’s comment Feb, 2010. Thanks a million. It is nice to know someone else has been at this “adventure” of life for a while as I have. Your comments were on target for me. Thanks for sharing…..Shirley

  • This isn’t a religious push, but it is a story from the Old Testament. Elijah has just stood up to Jezebel, and she wants him discredited among his friends and society, and then she wants him dead. So, scared, shaken after his confrontation with her, he flees. Her soldiers are chasing him, he’s tired, beaten, battered and he’s so ready to give up. He has no inspirational quotes, no movies, no Zig Ziglar, no friends, nothing but desert and caves and dirt, heat and potential death. He’s dragging ass in a big way, expecting to be caught and killed at any time. He SO wants to give up. God has greater plans for him, and Elijah knows it – but he’s just able to deal with it. So God sends an angel, directs him to a cave and feeds him and tells him to sleep. He does this twice – eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. ONLY when he is rested, fed and centered – having taken care of his personal needs is he ready to go on. Answer: When I want to give up I stop. I eat and I sleep. I rest.

  • Shirley Tomlin says:

    I am working on a story, but took time out to remode house,. It was longpast due and working in asolute cahos did not fit my styke, So bring in the contrators to do their best horro verson. ‘first they do exactly what they want paying you little ir it attebtuib at atal., hwehn you com;plined, you riete it all to fiminne issesm and besudes se wukk aje whateve teg contrator hadjedia juch attehtion has

  • tim kovar says:

    #2 – Ive tried to live a normal life after almost 20 years of Timtime. Let me know if you ever figure out that balance. I figured out its too late and there is no need to look down anyway.
    adventure on with purpose beyond self!

  • My overall goal right now is to create an online business that will support a minimal lifestyle so that my husband can leave his job and so I don’t have to go back to mine. As I work on my blog, trying to get the first one stable and the second launched, if I get frustrated, I just remember what I am working for and that the alternative is not an option. Yes, I may take a day off, I may step back and regroup, but I will not give up. I think it all comes down to what are you committed to? What are YOU meant to do? Once you know that, it makes it easier to press on.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I allow myself to whine, to cry, to yell and to be down right tired but I do not allow myself to give up. If I stop doing what I love, I am giving up my life and living is what I am meant to be doing.

  • Gina says:

    I feel like giving up today.

    I am just short of 35 and have not yet figured things out. I am unemployed for the second time in 9 months, this time for 3 months, and in spite of 7 years of experience (granted associated with work I would gladly never do again) and have applied for any job out there I could possibly qualify for. All I have to show for it: 2 unsuccessful interviews. Today I received one of the rejections post-interview, an interview I was sure went very well and as only one of two interviewed. Sigh.

    I cannot give up, per se, since my household cannot go on without a second income, but I feel like giving up on ever being more than a failure and a disappointment. It feels as if I will never have things figured out and never do anything (for income) that I actually enjoy.

    I know that people sometimes visualize success and that works, but that is not been helpful for me. I know too that positive energy brings positive in return, but it’s hard to be grateful…

  • Jeannie says:

    Hi everyone, I’m on this site thanks to Coast to Coast Am radio show that Chris was a guest on, and this was no coincidence. Gina, I wanted to tell you to not give up, not having a job is devastating, so many people are suffering now and it is scary, but you sounded hopeless, and I have been there, and just know many others have too! My story is I am 47 and I work at a multi-billion dollar business (pharmaceutical), and it has been pure hell. Let me tell, I have been there going on 10 years, before the recession hit, I was getting raises every 3 years, remember, multi-billion, this company has beat me down so bad that I was afraid to leave for fear of not being able to learn something else at another job. I lost confidence and felt too dumb, who would have me, so Gina, you can have a job and be in a big mess emotionally, and at what price. I’ll continue this story later because it gets really good.

  • Karen Dunn says:

    You know Chris, I’m really glad you posted this. Because the truth is that many of us who choose the less traveled path, sometimes feel like giving up. It’s hard. No, actually, as I wrote in a recent blog post, It’s frickin hard. THere’s no consistent paycheck, sometimes there’s no one to understand the choices we make and it’s lonely. The problem is that those of us who have chosen this path do it against the advice of many well-meaning people who want the best for us yet have no capacity to understand our passion for we have for our dreams. I just talked with my mom about this very thing this morning. I was actually crying, feeling so discouraged, and she reminded me that I have chosen this path – for the past 30 years! She said, Karen, you will achieve your dream, you always do, you have grit. Grit is a cool word, isn’t it? what does it really mean? For us, it means that we stick it out through the rough times, there is no other choice, we have made our decision to follow our heart

  • Phil Wise says:

    Giving up sounds like someone might feel there are no other options. I like to shift my perception
    or perspective of the circumstance and search for other options to accomplish another goal I may have. Failures prepare us for opportunities yet unseen, step out in faith of a higher purpose.

  • Ryan says:

    I haven’t felt like giving up very often, but when I have its usually been a major punch in the stomach… but I usually end up asking myself, ‘what other choice do I have?’ Failure is always an option, but it implies that total effort was applied to the situation. Surrender means you still had some fight left but chose not to use it. And of course, something will always happen… even if I do nothing at all about a problem, SOMETHING will happen, so I might as well go down with all guns blazing… even if it ends in total shame and humiliation… haha, this is why I’m not a motivational speaker!

  • Nan Devlin says:

    I find myself getting discouraged many times, and then remember how awful and futile it was working for someone else and being judged on metrics that made no sense to the business value of the company or to my own values. Being a sole proprietor is like pushing a big boulder uphill – the hard work never stops and the thing that keeps the rock from rolling downhill is you. But after being in business for myself for 10 years now, the boulder is part of me. Is that good or bad? Don’t know. But I do feel fully engaged.

  • chong weei says:

    As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together, and this blog have certainly brought together many people around the world og like minded, and I would like to initial an army of freedom fighters, to support each other in pursuit of our dream.

  • Damian says:

    What do I do when I feel like giving up? I give up. Literally. I put on the “give-up shoes” and walk in those for a bit to remind me what actually giving-up is like. I’ve been working on becoming more healthy and have dropped 109 pounds. I will lose 110 more pounds, but that doesn’t come without those throw-in-the-towel days. So I remind myself by eating one meal that I used to eat like Enourmous Sized fast food meals, or I don’t work out, and I do this with awareness. I observe myself, how I feel, what is my body doing, what my brain is thinking, and sometimes I write it down. I usually never finish the meal or I get up and go work out. But it reminds me of what giving up looks like and feels like. It reminds me of where I was 109 pounds ago and how I don’t want to be there again.

  • Brandy A. says:

    I think I read this post at least once a month. Pursuing the non-normal things in life can be a beast at times. Thanks for your site and this post!

  • Kourtney E. says:

    Watch cartoons. Pretend the decision between channels is the biggest decision you’ll ever make, and treat everyone after it as such. And just remember to breathe while you can.

  • Chloe Brown says:

    I just found your website about an hour ago. I enjoyed reading all the comments
    about “not giving up” and they were helpful. I write poetry and sometimes,short stories. I have had to fight feelings of giving up many times in my life. In August, 2010, I had a birthday–I became 80 years old. It shook me up, frightened me because age has never meant too much to me. But I have so many thingsI have not done yet! I began to think about my grandchildren, their ages, 16, 9, 8,7,4 etc. I want to see them graduate from high school, play on varsity teams! Will I get at least one book of poems published? I have published in contests etc but I don’t want to give up the idea of my book! Thank you and your other guests for all their sharing. I won’t give up yet—I might have to take a nap once in a while though! I live in a retirement village,and they call me the “Resident Poet!”

  • Shirley Tomlin says:

    To Chloe Brown….Thanks for sharing. Your post really lifted my heart. If you aren’t giving up, then neither am I! Keep going girl!

  • pish hinton says:

    after a year and a half on the road, i have begun to have times when i am just lonely – simply wanting someone, anyone, to share the amazing experiences i am having with….invariably, when i begin to be lonely, i will be gifted with some word of encouragement…this time it was in the form of your post about sometimes feeling like giving up…now that i know it is to be expected from time to time, i give myself permission to feel lonely – and keep going….thank you for the affirmation you are giving all of us who choose a nonconventional life…..awesome!….

  • Liz K Zook says:

    When I feel like giving up I let out a bunch of steam. I completely throw a toddler-like temper tantrum for maybe 5 minutes. I will yell and jump. I will scream and slam a door or throw a notebook.
    Then I just let it all go and jump back in.
    Just giving myself 5 minutes to express all of the frustration and anger that I have is enough for me.

  • Lisa Keith says:

    I have bipolar disorder so I feel like giving up a lot…stop taking meds, stop going to therapy, stop taking care of myself, stop working on my doctorate…but then I remember there are a lot of mentally ill people, my children and my students included-I’m a high school special ed teacher – who count on me to set an example that you can be bipolar and earn an MA and a Psy.D. and teach high school and raise three incredible children. I read writings like yours, listen to people like Pema Chodron, keep my surroundings as simple as I can and I keep going. Because, after all….someone’s got to do it, and it might as well be me. God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle….right?

    Thanks for being here and there….

  • Esther says:

    Chris, my new friend Nancy sent me your mantra and blog post about not giving up. I love the mantra. I changed my life after 11 years as an attorney and am now reinventing myself as an artist/performer/energy worker. It has been challenging and I wouldn’t go back for anything. much love, Esther

  • Jeff says:

    So I lost my job three and half hours ago, and your site is sent to me thirty minutes ago. I was apparently sent “Karma Mantra”. I went on my first trip overseas seven years a ago and have never stopped thinking about how to get back. Thank you for this site Chris, it has more then made my day, I believe it will do so much more for my future.

  • Nichole Moses says:

    Worrying about what others think of what you’re doing while you’re anxiously and begrudgingly putting one foot in front of the other, while attempting to venture into uncharted territory is a very real and degrading struggle. I am moved by your your candidness on this and know that self-defeating feeling all too well. The truth is: life is essentially a daily struggle of “mind over matter,” and the only person holding any of us back is ourself. . . I admire your strength Chris. :)

  • glen evans says:

    I usually want to quit everyday at bedtime. I remind myself I am tired and a good night’s sleep will make things look better. Every morning I am refreshed and ready for a new day.

  • Miguel Marfori says:

    When I feel like giving up, I stop doing what I’m doing and relax. Dis-connect from what I’m doing and just relax. I try to regain myself and remind myself “You can do it dood. You can do it”. But usually, I just do it even if I feel like giving up.
    Just like when I do my Japanese language studies. When I found out I had to study their Kanji system (and learn all 2000+ characters) I felt like giving up. I felt that it was hard, people say learning kanji will make you insane, it will take years until you are good at it. But I just went for it even though I felt like giving up. But lo and behold, I’m actually loving kanji. I’m currently learning the 80 kanji learned in Grade 1. So you just go and do it, and stick with it. There are days you’ll feel like throwing everything and just forget about it. But it takes perseverance to go for it and stick with it.

  • Pete says:

    It’s taken me a while to realize how dissatisfied I’ve been with my life – it’s been the road well traveled. The hardest part is just overcoming all of that mental baggage in order to shift directions and make that change. Some days are easy and some days are not. And there are times when I absolutely feel like quitting.
    But I’m still here. I’m still breathing. And what’s the alternative? To go back to the way things were? It’s been said never to make a big decision in the dark of night. Always wait until the sun comes up. Sometimes you just gotta put your chin down and plow ahead. Get tough. Get nasty. Get whatever. Just keep going. One foot in front of the other. Then, when you catch your breath and look up, you see how far you’ve gone.

  • Deidre Gregg says:

    This is real-true-life. Compare this to your own life and rejoice. These are men facing their death for a cause. They do not rejoin their families or live their dreams. How coddled are we?

  • Gail says:

    Out of 4-Step Encouragement Mantra for the Journey, number 4 is the best “And I won’t give up.” this is very true whatever we chooses to do we have to do it with our whole heart believing in all that we are and never give up.

  • Ana says:

    Give up and go for the normal, “settled” life? After all that has happened to me, I was sorely tempted go just settle for the “settled” when I first came back from Japan 9 months ago, nearly destitute, having lost everything due to a temporary illness.

    I can’t. I don’t belong in the settled life. It’s not me. Only some being up above knows how I’m going to get out again with nothing but the clothes in a suitcase, but there has got to be a way! Because I know now, only a spiritual death will be the alternative.

  • Allie says:

    Very good advice. Everyone feels like giving up some time in their life – the mantra is a good thing to live by. Me? I tell myself to keep going, and remind myself that tomorrow is another day, full of surprises and brimming with unforeseen adventure. Anyone can make their life magical!~

  • Ana says:

    Yes, I feel like giving up nearly every day, especially when I go into that factory and realize this is probably the last job I will ever have. A degree and years of professional experience and I end up destitute in a factory. My father would be turning over in his grave. At 57 there’s little hope of anything changing in my life now without some kind of miracle, or real help of some kind. I’ve done everything in my own power, now I need something from above.

    Following the dream had too high a cost for me.

  • Genevieve Andersen says:

    Realize that all things in life are a practice. Remind myself. For most of my life I had never been one for meditation– everyone told me I was far too in my head and had too many thoughts/desires/no focus, etc. But try as I might, I couldn’t meditate or ‘be still.’ About a year ago, (long after I had given up any thought of meditation) I went through something very hard for me and tried again to meditate, because– for the first time in my life– I was seeking silence. I started with just 10 minutes a day. It was hard and I would get angry with myself. On the third try, I almost gave up…and then it suddenly occurred to me: It is a practice. Wait…ALL things are practices. To expect yourself to always love something, for it to always be easy is just silly. To expect there to be a cross-over point where you suddenly go from being a beginner to an expert isn’t realistic…remember all practices are living and breathing just like all living things are, so…just breathe. Be ok being sad, as you would be ok being happy: just be with it– and know that NOTHING healthy and full of life is stagnant. (Uh…yes).

  • Betty Street says:

    To Keep going, I like to think of a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” And then I take time to do some gardening and dig in the dirt. Works for me.

  • Joe says:

    One of my old football coaches use to say “the harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” So when I feel like giving up, I just think of all the hard work I’ve already put in. That either makes the present seem a little easier by comparison or motivates me to struggle through so that everything I’ve already done hasn’t been done for nothing.

  • Angelene Kaur says:

    Once I was trekking with a friend. Coming from a more or less sedentary lifestyle, I found myself struggling to get to the top a particularly steep slope. I stopped and gasped that I couldn’t go on and he should go ahead without me. He smiled at me and said “If it seems too difficult right now, why don’t you rest for a bit instead of quitting? We can always continue in a while.”

    That stuck with me and I’ve used it every time I feel like giving up. Rest, don’t stop.

  • Giving up and stopping is easy. It’s even easier when you haven’t stepped forward with the life experience’s and learning that comes with it.
    What’s harder is accepting that you will not give up, and that in the process, you will have to change, grow, and leave things (and people) behind.
    It is in those steps forward that I feel the most scared, and the most empowered, knowing that I am making a change. Not only in my life, but in the lives of others, and that is what drives me, motivates me, and continues to remind me that I am truly living.

  • Shelby Rice says:

    Great article Chris. usually when I feel like giving up I find it is because I am not feeling confident in myself and disconnected to my creative side. It happens when the greek chorus in my head is becoming way too loud and I am listening to what others think I should do, or I think Im supposed to do, but not necessarily what I want to do. It helps to take a long walk, or a dance or yoga class, or to go to the grocery and just buy what I feel inspired to cook. Some of my best meals have stemmed from this practice… Or sometimes just staring out the window and letting my mind wander does the trick. When I do these simple things and take time for myself away from demands of daily life, it allows for my perspective to change. I become more aligned within myself and value my own beliefs, not those of the greek chorus. (perhaps I should mention that the greek chorus consists of the voices of those influential beings in my life: family, friends, community, and ?…)

  • PoemCatcher says:

    hhhmmmm, So….
    I haven’t gotten out of bed today. The duvet (aka my hiding place) has swallowed me. I have 24 hours to rattle the cage, finish a business plan and stand in front of a panel of folk desperately trying to give me money – and I want to give up.

    My long lie in was fabulous, my mid morning nap was brilliant and my afternoon nap rounded off the collection superbly. so in answer to your question “What do I do when I feel like giving up?” I NAP! it helps. (Or half-helps)

    Anyone who thinks this is a bum strategy needs to read “Change you life without getting out of bed” by Sark.

    I also invite the world to send me a fresh poem. Poems inspire me!freshness revitalises me.

  • Just when I feel like giving up (like I did today), I come across a place like your blog that reminds me why I do what I do. Your writing is so right on it makes me cry. Back in 1993, I fired my boss, tripled my income and came home to be a Mom to my kids. I made that my mission (sort of like your World Domination) to bring Moms home who were just shuffling money and living in chaos and guilt to fulfill the “keeping up with the Joneses.” Thank you so much for what you do…and simply read these responses when you feel like giving up!

  • Matt Smith says:

    When I was in college, I did a final research project. I majored in linguistics, and my project was in a kind of accent training. At some point, I confessed to my advisor, “I don’t think this training is going to work.” And he said, “Oh, I don’t either.” His perspective was, if it fails you learn from the failure.

    I remember thinking, if you do research your whole life, then yes, some failures are par for the course. But if you design one accent training and do one experiment on it, you want it to work.

    (Eventually I ended up having a stroke of creative brilliance and designing a new training that worked wonders. But that’s beside the point.)

    I treat lots of things like that one experiment – where I’ve pinned all my hopes on it, and if it doesn’t work I’m discouraged. I do that even when I’ve got more than one chance to succeed.

    I’m trying to relate to things differently. If one blog post doesn’t make me an overnight sensation, or doesn’t go over well at all, then it’s time for the next one. In a couple years, I’ll look back and see some posts that tanked and others that took off. And I’ll have the same perspective my advisor had on research experiments!

  • Jane says:

    How do I keep going when I feel like giving up?!? That’s a very good question. I’ve been asking myself a lot lately why I haven’t quit my day job and stay home to spend more time with my 61-yr old mom who is diabetic and on dialysis. Yet, I find myself getting up every single day for this 9-5 job. I should really be grateful.

    What keeps me going is allowing myself to stop and wander. Do whatever. No matter where I am– be at work, out in public at a cafe, or at home. It’s like freestyle dancing…I let myself wander around, surf the net while at work, and come across awesome websites like yours. Oftentimes, I find myself jotting notes down like Da Vinci. Whatever comes to mind, I write.

    In the end, I think about my bills-mortgage-food-drinks-party-gifts-etcetera. I know time will come when I’ll just call it quits and just live the life I’ve always wanted.

  • Liz says:

    When I feel like “Giving Up” and I do about once a month. :) I just tell myself to drop what I am doing, step away, and enjoy something in life like a good cup of coffee, watching a movie with my husband, or just something I like on TV. Most of the time, the reason I feel like giving up is because I haven’t taken the time to allow myself to relax. I force myself to give my little mind a break from all the task at hand and all that gets me down. Sometimes I just need a few hours, sometimes a few days, but usually something happens in that time that gets my spirit back up and I get inspired again- like a new blog like this one, or a new client project. I’m easily exciteable, so I can really get revved up again with something simple. I am also working to schedule in some down time this year to help reduce those times of feeling like I want to quit. Quitting really isn’t worth it to me when I think about it. I love my life and would never go back to a 9-5 job! Yuck! :)

  • iktomi says:

    there are some things that will not work no matter how much effort you put into it. age comes on you, health, family responsibility, finances, death of a loved one, etc. but usually there is a substitute that works when the original idea doesn’t…it is all a matter of perspective…unless you like to beat yourself up. knowing when to quit and letting go has a lot going for it…peace of mind and souland less turmoil.

  • Rebecca says:

    First i get mad at myself for making the choices that lead me to a point of giving up lol then i muster the energy to write all the things i think went wrong and put systems in place to make sure they dont happen again, then i freeze a bit and worry im gonna make the wrong choices again lol, then I chill out and stop being so hard on myself lol, remind myself to “take away the filter” and make sure im not missing something im meant to notice, then i re-evaluate, then i try again- and again, and again and again lol…

  • David Bonifant says:

    I have, in the past, (20 years ago) shared your capacity to enjoy long distance running, having completed a couple of marathons on the Gold Coast, Australia. Subsequently, 10 years ago I completed the treacherous war time journey in Papua New Guinea 96kms up and down through 40,000 feet – The Kokoda Track, over 6.5 days. In training, I discovered for both exercises a “state” I describe as my “all day running mode”. That is to say a phenomena that allowed me to put my
    “thumb in bum and mind in neutral” (to coin an old army saying) – that comfortable state that allowed me to continue easily without pain or desire to give up. Since I have discovered I can put myself into this mode often when tempted to give in!

  • Mike Boulding says:

    Truth be told, I don’t give up simply because I hate the feeling of giving up. Even if it’s an awful idea, I’m insatiably curious and I can’t stand the thought of wondering ‘what if….’ so I usually give any particular challenge my all, just so I can say I didn’t give up. There comes a point sometimes, where I know that it’s time to count my losses and move on, but that’s only when I’ve decided it’s time to move on. I can’t stand the thought of some arbitrary force dictating when I succeed or fail. If I do have to give up for whatever reason, and I feel I could have done better, I return at a later date and try again, just so that I can say ‘It’s done.’ I always see things through if for no other reason then just so I can say that I always see things through… and seeing a post like this is quite inspiring, just so I know that there’s someone else out there who’s leading an unconventional life and has to deal with the solitude. It’s comforting, and I salute your honest in this post Chris. Thank you.

  • I think all self-employed people must have the experience of wanting to give up from time to time. I like giving myself permission to give up for an hour or a day or for how ever long it takes to pass. The act of welcoming the feeling seems to help it move along faster. Trying to push through it just makes me tired.

  • Michael says:

    I agree with you here. Some days I wake up and the motivation is just there. I feel an itch to get out of my house and pursue my dreams (whatever they might be at the moment). Other days… I feel what I describe as ‘bleh’. There is no spring in my walk and everything I undertake seems like a grind. Success comes to those who can put in the effort day in and day out. Somehow.

  • Tony says:

    I believe that life is a journey to be experienced, with both highs and lows. I have come to the realisation that when I am on a high, I will experience an equal low, and when I am low (unmotivated), I will experience an equal high. (This helps me get out of the doldrums and mentally balanced). I guess it is a little like ‘ying / yang’. All of lifes experiences happen for a reason – enjoy the journey!

  • susie says:

    yep i know how it feels. Giving up is an event occuring in me at least once a month. Ive been planning to quit my business not because it is making huge losses but the exact routine is driving me nuts and daily attachment is getting a toll on my mental health and my life in generally. Yes ive been telling myself to quit and here i am 10 years later still in the same situation. I love my staffs and knowing that this is their bread and butter made me postponed my intention hundred of times….

  • Jon says:

    For me, “The 4 Agreements” and other books by Don Miguel Ruiz have helped me with the courage to keep going forward. It’s easy to get swayed by opinion of others who themselves are just trying to feel safe. The best way is to challenge the “core beliefs” that go against yourself; that is the cause of your suffering. Then with that awareness, you can change the beliefs or find new agreements to replace them. This is all part of the unlearning process. What do we really want?

  • Marcus says:

    I am a musician, and a particularly good one at that. But sometimes I thinking about giving up maybe 3-4 times a day. Respect for my musicianship from musicians I admire helps a lot. But sometimes I just let the complaint have its say until it goes away. Yes its hard, yes the scene is messed up, yes life isn’t fair, Yes…if only blah blah blah. While it doesn’t help me feel good, and my productivity and diligence suffer somewhat during these periods (not ideal), eventually the complaints tire themselves out and go home. At the end of the day I am still left with my horn in my hand, a song in my heart, and I keep doing it. It aint easy though. Your blog along with with Live Your Legend and Paul Myers online sales stuff have been a HUGE inspiration during my most recent slump.

    -MGM-

  • Leon says:

    Some months ago I ran into a wall of discouragement, and I stopped building my business and focuded only on my 9-5 job. I guess I was giving up. What a horrible experience to give up on something that was at one time an exciting birth.

    I would wake in the night and eel the terrible feelings wash over me. My wonderful concept was not being nurtured… it was gasping final breaths. That told me I still cared a lot.

    So… I brought in a partner to try and get the juices flowng again. Someone to account to besides myself. Someone to challenge me, ask me questions about the biz, offer suggestions, and even hold me accountable. It is helping (only been a week) and I will complete my mission. Btw – it is not a formalized, legally documented partnership in the usual way – it is an agreement that they get a percentage or profits for a period of time – so they have good reason for me to succeed! :) MY theory is that my interests will once again grow exponentially as I pull out of the doldrums. It’s working already!

  • Emilee says:

    sometimes when i feel like giving up, i remember a time when i felt like giving up, like things were too hard and then the feeling on the other side of it — how incredibly awesome it is, that feeling of accomplishment from my stick-to-it-ness…mostly i try to think back and remember playing sports in high school and how i went from the c-squad to the varsity primarily on my own attitude and passion :) i think it helps to look at something that you once thought was impossible and did it anyway (ie, like i just climbed a mountain in Bali overnight, which i thought was impossible)

  • Amanda says:

    Thank you I needed to hear this. It helps to hear other’s struggles as well who are on “a different path”.

  • Ayla says:

    Wow – after reading this and your post about anxiety on problogger I have really started thinking about things from a whole new perspective. I have read through a few of the posts on your website (it is my first day here) and they are all practical, positive and inspiring for me, at a time when I need practical, positive inspiration. So when I read that you sometimes feel like giving up and experience anxiety (as I do) made me think… what if you were overcome by that anxiety and as a result, didn’t write and share your words of wisdom? That would be a real pity and so many people would miss out on a great site. So… what if I have something great to share with the world too, and because I am too scared to put myself out there in the spotlight nobody ever even knows about it? That would be awful. So why not give it a shot. The worst that can happen is that people don’t like what I have to offer, and in the big picture, how bad is that really? It can’t be worse than the regret that will come with never trying. Thank you for your inspiration and some really great posts!

  • Thanks to you and all the folks who’ve commented on this post–it’s just what I needed on this tired/uninspired day to help get back on track. Love what you’re doing with your blog and the wonderful community you’ve created. Thanks!

  • Tara says:

    I am very happy you don’t give up and that you keep going! If you hadn’t written so many meaty useful articles I would have never noticed or purchased your book “$100 Start Up” from the book store. I show everyone I know your blog and escapades…You deserve all of your success. After seeing my enthusiasm for your work, 2 of my friends also purchased your book $100 Start Up. Your encouragement is fantastic and your work valuable. My goal is to fire my conventional job in June of 2013 by applying your techniques- I will let you know when I get there.

  • Cheryl says:

    Thanks for being honest and writing about the tough times, Chris.

    There are some great tips here in the comments – Ariel I like your tips and the quote you didn’t know the source of is from Elizabeth Gilbert (“Success isn’t getting up and working on the days you feel like it. It’s getting up and working on the days you don’t feel like it”).

    I use many of the suggestions here but what works best for me is having a “committed listener” I can call when I’m in ready to quit mood. When I am really in giving up mode, I need to get out of my own head and hear some (tough) love from a friend to remind me why I committed in the first place and that someone else believes in me.

  • It’s Clear On Top

    Imagine for a moment that you just lost your job. No two-weeks, no severence; no high five on the way out. You return to your over-priced home confused, sad, worried, pissed – only to find that your spouse wants you gone too. In other words, you’ve been fired twice in one day. And it’s raining. Pretty crappy day, right?

    You search for answers to “why?” Your answers turn to excuses and you remember what your boss and spouse always told you: “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

    So you look up through the dark clouds, your face wet more from tears than rain and you ask for help. Who else is there to turn to in your greatest time of need?

    Then you realize that no matter how bad you think you’ve got it down here – below the clouds – it’s clear on top. Above the rain and lightning; above the turbulence and thunderheads… it’s clear on top.

    No matter how bad you think you’ve got it, someone else has it worse, much worse than you. Life goes on. You’re 6 feet above ground, some are 6 feet below.

    Get off your pity party. No one cares. Be happy. Find your voice. Fly high. No matter how bad the weather is down here, it’s clear on top.

  • Josh says:

    A mantra of my own that I created when I was on a backpacking trip was “Tiny steps my friend. Tiny steps take you far places.” This has ringed in my head countless times in various situations and keeps me on my path. I know the path I’m on isn’t a conventional one and I am an outlier but that gives me all the more strength to keep pushing myself.

  • Jeff says:

    Obviously you’ve struck a chord here. My tank gets low when I am lonely, angry, hungry or tired. It is true what my grandma use to say: “Most people just need a snack and a nap.” Let me encourage you that when you are feeling down remember that somewhere someone is reading one of your excellent books, reading your blog or going someplace they would not have gone without your influence. Keep your spiritual tank full, Chris, and if you ever get in the Cincinnati area let me know and I will buy you dinner.

    Oh, one other thing- I remember you said that you are/were a musician. You might want to consider getting some music creation software to your laptop. Might help you pass some time when you are bored.

  • L. K. Nance says:

    I think about the consequences it had on the people I loved the last time I gave up.

  • Elke says:

    Yes, sometimes I do feel like giving up. Living a life that isn’t the “norm” has caused me to experience much self doubt, getting tired, and sometimes depressed. During negative moments I try to acknowledge that those feelings are part of the path to living the life that is right for me. I do get knocked down sometimes, which leads to inactivity. But this also leads to introspection and evaluation and usually a renewed sense of energy. I think it’s important to always keep hold of your inner strength, and faith in who you are and what you are capable of. When feeling tired or uninspired it helps to go for a walk, or take a break from screens, traffic, and other sources of stress. These are the times to be nice to ourselves.

  • SIMON says:

    Having run two small businesses and not having a job for the past ten years, there have been many spots where you feel like giving up. But its just not an option – there is no real alternative for me here. You progressively get more resilient and resourceful. You gain ability and confidence. After a while challenges make you who you are, you grow. Avoiding challenge is not the objective. And in the grand scheme, nothing really matters…keep everything in perspective – don’t get too low or too high. Don’t be a perfectionist if at all possible. Take ownership of your decisions and try to be flexible. Have a general plan but leave room for flex – for example, I never commit myself to be on a job on fridays, friday is mine to decide where i most need to be. Realize that failures and disappointments can turnout to be your greatest opportunities. Your emotions play a huge part in your outcomes and you can control your thoughts, which control your emotions. Be inspired by others. Thank you Chris :)

  • GULDEN says:

    I think sometimes I give up then. I’m trying to get out of ordinary life. it’s crazy ideas most people are mocking laughs. most especially my own mother’s taunting. not necessarily to get a job as normal for ordinary insists. this is boring. two sons, supports me. I wrote a lot of books I love. approval has not come yet but definitely will know. my books will be bestsellers in the world. to be taught in schools. and I pride myself on my children as I will be proud of me. absolutely. I am doing. I’m busting.

  • Joshua says:

    To be completely honest with you. I am no world traveler and recently discovered your website. Now I have to tell you I have always wanted to travel myself… I have always been totally unsure of how to go about starting this let alone letting go of the things I do have. I do not personally handle this topic of discussion well at all. (I get down often) However I feel the freedom of travel may open new avenues to help me over come these issues. I really appreciate the plethora of information that your blog contains and enjoy reading it. I am working on my plans to set my Fiance and I into the traveling world. I look forward to reading your books and receiving updates from your site.

    Stay safe on your travels.

    J

  • kirk says:

    Great post. Very encouraging to hear how others handle what we all go through.

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