One Simple Mindset Hack That Keeps Me Going When I Feel Like Quitting

posted in: Mindset and Motivation, Uncategorized | 10

I can’t stand quitting. The very idea of it is repulsive to me. Just the nature of quitting indicates that one has undertaken a task in an effort to bring about some result. And when I say I’m going to do something, I mean it. My word is my bond – my reputation – and not just for others, but for myself. So, by quitting any endeavor – even one that is completely my own, and has little to no direct effects on others – I will have to break my bond with myself. I will have to give up.

And I hate the idea of it.

The only time that I can swallow the idea of quitting is when I know – not think – but know in my heart that it’s the right thing to do and that, as a result, I will be more successful as a result. But I’ll tell ya, it takes a lot of effort before I’m willing to give up, and arriving at that decision is not easy. One of the reasons being that I know that success often comes soon after one has nearly given up.

I am reminded of a quote by Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich, which is a success blueprint that Hill compiled over 25 years of investigating the commonalities of the world’s most successful businessmen:

Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known, told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. – Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich

And the thought of that hounds me every time things get tough. And I’m not just talking about in life, in general, but on a moment by moment basis. When I’m out for a run, and I’m pushing my limits, and my legs are jello and and my lungs are burning, just knowing that success could be right around the corner keeps those Jello-Jigglers in motion. And then it happens. It gets easier. And for a moment, I feel like I could run forever.

It happens in strength training, too. When I’ve decided that I’m going to do 20 squats, knowing full-well that it’s going to be very difficult, that my body won’t want to do that, and that everything inside of me will be screaming, “stop,” knowing this truth about quitting keeps me going. It’s what gets me from 18 reps to 19 and 19 to 20, when I wanted to give up at the 10th. And it’s those last couple reps, performed with good technique, that make all the difference. That’s where growth happens.

This works with habits, too. I’ve almost always told my clients to adopt or change habits gradually. And recently, I’ve been encouraging them to adopt new habits as gradually as possible – even if it only means walking for one minute a day at first. But no matter how gradually you work at acquiring or eliminating a habit, there always comes a point of serious resistance. There comes a point where quitting is not only the most desirable decision, but also appears to be the most logical, rational, and valuable decision, too. Everything inside of you will want to quit, for any number of reasons. And that’s exactly when you need to press on to succeed. Because after this temporary situation is over, it always – ALWAYS – gets easier. And usually much easier. So, when I’m on day 23 of 30 in working towards a new habit, and everything in my being wants to give up, I choose to continue anyway – to finish what I started. Then, and only then – after I have finished what I started – am I allowed to decide if I want to quit.

I’ll quit tomorrow. – Vernon Johnson

And you know what, this same mindset trick works in any and all aspects of life. When I’ve been working on a new business project, and everything comes crashing down, or I feel like I’m getting nowhere, and when I decide that I’m not going to quit, and just keep going no matter what, that’s when breakthrough usually happens.

Now, I don’t think this is an absolute quality of success, in that, success only ever comes after defeat, temporary setback, or after wanting to give up. Sometimes, success comes easily. Personally, it’s pretty rare for me, but it does happen. And sometimes, it takes a lot longer than I had expected to succeed – even years, in some cases. So, there’s no cut and dry formula. But that said, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that this mindset hack has kept me going when I would have otherwise given up, and that I’ve climbed new heights because of it. Maybe it will work for you, too.

So, when you’re ready to throw in the towel, remember that success is probably right around the corner, and don’t give up! It will get easier eventually, and it will always – ALWAYS – be worth it.

And don’t think for a minute that I’m the perfect example of someone who never quits or never even thinks about quitting – quite the contrary! We all need this reminder, and this morning, I did, which is exactly why I wrote this for you.

Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever. – Lance Armstrong

Never, never, never give up. – Winston Churchill

If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill

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10 Responses

  1. I had this conversation with one of the athletes I coach just this week,

    “One of the most impactful things my college coach ever said to me was, ‘Musto, the darkest hour is just before the dawn.’ You’re going through a tough training stretch right now, and you’re feeling pretty beat–and you should! But keep your head up, keep focused, keep mentally fighting, and in short order you’re going to have a training breakthrough, and you’re going to be doing things you had NO idea your body could do. Trust me.”

  2. John (aka Wish I Were Riding)

    Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever. – Lance Armstrong

    But it doesn’t hurt as much if you dope, and lying for years is better than quitting. At least I think Lance said that too?

  3. Great advice as always John and couldn’t have come at a better time.
    Really looking forward to your pullup program.

    • Thanks, Terry! And thanks for your patience on the pull-up product, too. It’s been slow going, but I have been chipping away it each a little bit each week. I’ll keep you posted.

  4. Thanks for this great reminder to keep going and face our challenges despite hardship. Great quotes also! Here is one more which I find particularly motivating:
    Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
    – Newt Gingrich

  5. Great quotes by great people. One more thing that inspires me:
    The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.

  6. Thanks for this inspiring article. The way to the gym was never a problem for me but I had many motivational problems when I started jogging. Now I’ve found many ways to motivate myself every time! You have some great quotes here and I’d like to add one I really like. It might be a bit extreme but still, it always pushes me further. The quote is out of the song “Till I collapse” by Eminem which I always listen towards the end of my run when my body starts telling me to stop.

    “Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
    But you got to search within you, and try to find that inner strength
    And just pull that **** out of you
    And get that motivation to not give up, and not be a quitter
    No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse”

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