“Know when to give up, and when to keep forging on.”
People used to always tell me, usually on the heels of some grievous defeat, that things will look up, that if I keep working hard the world would reward me. But that’s not true, is it? There are so many people out there trying their hardest and not getting anywhere. In fact, it seems like more and more lately hard work doesn’t net its just rewards. Where is the line between being optimistic, in thinking that everything will eventually work out, and in being realistic, in cutting your losses and changing tactics? It’s all about knowing when.
“You can do anything you set your mind to.”
That is of course untrue. Sometimes we set for ourselves goals that are impossible for us to achieve. Now, that’s not me being pessimistic, but realistic. There is a marked difference between the two. As human beings we are all different, and we all have different abilities. I might want to be the best artist in the world, but if I have no spatial recognition or artistic talent that won’t happen. Does that mean that someone somewhere won’t appreciate my art? No. But being “the best artist” is subjective, and not something one can ever truly claim.
Also untrue. The key is of course knowing when to quit. If you take piano lessons for 20 years and you’re just as horrible in that 20th year as you were when you began, perhaps that’s when you know it’s okay to pursue another passion. Or maybe that guy you wanted to like you back has turned you down 20 times. I’m thinking that might just be your signal to give up. He’s not the guy for you, no matter how good he looks in a turtleneck. In quitting, you open yourself up to finding something you might actually have talent in, and in quitting, you give yourself license to go after someone who might actually like you in return. Which, for all intents and purposes, would be wins.
That doesn’t mean you don’t go for your dreams, though. We teach our youth that the sky is the limit, and I’m not saying that’s negative. It’s great to see the world spread out before you and to try your hardest to achieve something you desperately want. Many people do in fact get to the pot of gold at the end of their rainbows. Persistence can indeed pay off, and I have about a million stories that I’ve heard that can back that up. Go for what you want, and go at it with a vengeance. Just know when going all out for it might be more to your detriment than to your good.