never give up

8 Moves to Make When You Want to Give Up

Taking the easy road is nice for a while, but for talented, motivated people it isn’t enough. To find satisfaction you’ll need to set ambitious goals, solve challenging problems, and develop strengths you may not know you have.

Although the hard road is more fulfilling, it isn’t all champagne and victory laps. There will be times when you feel beaten and depressed — times when quitting looks like the best option. There is no formula for dealing with hard times, but these 8 steps will help you understand your predicament and determine the best course of action.

1. Take a Break

One reason we get down ourselves is fatigue. When you’re tired everything is harder. Working your tail off for extended periods will wear you down if you aren’t careful. You’ll also get bored. Fatigue and boredom combine to cause burnout — one of the biggest reasons people quit. When faced with burnout, the best thing to do is take a break. Cut yourself off completely. Do absolutely nothing for a day or two. What’s the worst that could happen? By allowing yourself to recover you’ll be more productive in the long run.

2. Step Back

Sometimes we get so absorbed in our own sphere that we develop a distorted picture of reality. When you feel like giving up, there’s a good chance that a) things aren’t nearly as bad as they seem, and b) there’s a simple solution that you’re overlooking. When things seem bleak, distance yourself from the situation to gain an accurate perspective. What would someone without any emotional involvement do? Asking this question will help you make optimal decisions.

3. Do Your Research

The only constant in the universe is change, but when you’re plugging away with your head down it’s easy not to notice. People often make decisions based on outdated assumptions made months, or even years earlier. To develop a course of action, you’ll need to know where you stand. Stop to evaluate your position.

  • What do you have?
  • What do you want?
  • How has the market adjusted?
  • What opportunities still exist?
  • What new opportunities have arisen?

By taking stock of the current situation, you’ll discover if your urge to quit is a passing whim or the correct decision.

4. Consult an Expert

When your knowledge base is insufficient you should seek an expert opinion. This doesn’t mean you have to make contact with a world class expert, anyone who knows more than you will be able to help. Think of friends, family, and business associates. Have any of them been in your position before? The web can also be a great resource, just be careful who you trust. Check out relevant forums or email a reputable blogger. I’m consistently impressed with the effort people expend to help total strangers.

5. Re-evaluate Your Strategy

Once you’re well informed, apply that knowledge to revamping your strategy. If you feel like giving up, you might be doing something wrong. This is the time to pour over your efforts and determine what works.

  • What actions have lead to the greatest benefit?
  • What mistakes have been made?
  • What can be improved?

By answering these questions you’ll fine tune your strategy. The urge to give up is a blessing when it leads to analysis and constructive adjustments.

6. Change Course

Knowing what’s wrong and how you can fix it is a relief. Unlike an invisible monster hovering over you, an exposed problem can be directly assaulted. Once you’ve determined a change needs to be made, implement it full force. Don’t hesitate or dwell on past mistakes. Trust your own judgment and deal with new issues as they arise.

7. Push Through the Dip

In some cases you might feel like giving up even though you’re doing all the right things. This is called “the dip” — the plateau that separates the average from the best in the world. Knowing what to do when you hit the dip is so important, Seth Godin wrote a book on it. In you’ve hit the dip and you can honestly say that going forward is the best decision, lower your shoulder and plow ahead until you reach the other side. It might not be pleasant but the rewards are tremendous. If you make it.

8. Quit

We don’t have thoughts and emotions for nothing. Sometimes quitting is the best decision. Maybe you didn’t know what you were getting into. Maybe your priorities have changed. Maybe you’d be better doing something else. If you know deep down that quitting is the right move, do it. Don’t hesitate because of previously invested effort. That’s a sunk cost. If you ignore your better judgment and continue you’ll waste more time and energy.

84 Responses to 8 Moves to Make When You Want to Give Up

  1. Pingback: Live Intentionally » Blog Archive » 8 Steps to Take When You Feel Like Giving Up

  2. I printed this great tips and will have a look at them every time I meet with difficulties. Thank you!

  3. Patrick says:

    I like your article and I don’t think the importance of tip 8 can be overstated. Each experience changes and move us further away from the person we were when we made the decision to commit to something. The fantastic new job in a different city may lose its shine after a few months when we get good at it and it offers us little in the way of satisfaction and fulfillment. If you’ve taken the time to consider your options (the first 7 steps) and still feel or know that it’s wrong for you, you quit and free up your future.

  4. Can’t agree more, esp. on pt. 1. Sometimes we just push ourselves too hard and the time we release us from the task, to take a shower, to fetch a cup of tea, the energy’s back and inspiration is floating again.

  5. Matt says:

    In addition to “The Dip” which I haven’t read I would recommend “Mastery” by George Leonard. He points out that one should enjoy the plateau and that it is a natural occurence of life. There is no avoiding it.

  6. John Wesley says:

    That’s interesting, Matt. I’ve never thought of the plateau as something to look forward too!

  7. I’d say that the first two of these are my biggest problem. I tend to dive in a work maniacally, and then burn out and quit or have to walk away for a long time. It’s good for me to remember to take breaks.


  8. Love the post. I’m currently starting out as an entrepreneur. It started out all relaxed and easy, but it getting tougher. It’s not that I don’t like working, but it can be a drain on your body.

    I’m fascinated by the “Dip”. I’ll check Seth’s book out as well as Matt’s recommendation of “Mastery”.


  9. Harveen says:

    #7 is the one im interested in, so I have to look into the book. It seems the ‘dip” is where I get stuck.

  10. Stepping back, definitely the most important

  11. Xin says:

    Interesting post. I agree with some of the points, though others seem not as important to me.

    I am starting out as an Internet Entrepreneur. Spent 7 months in China hustling it out. Create and a PPC tool using Ruby on Rails. All this has tired me out, combined with no real income as of yet, I’m feeling down.

    Reading you post has lifted my mood. I always knew I am this close to achieving it. All the noise and negative vibe from friends & family has affected me more than it should have. I should push ahead and get over the dip, to ripe my tremendous financial reward.

    I have also realised I need to keep up with positive habits. Jogging, meditation, reflection. Combine with this some instance of a social life, I’ll have what I need to plough ahead.

    I feel passionate about all this. I will blog it later on today.

  12. tom bar says:

    If you’re ever in a situation where quiting looks to be your best option don’t follow any of these guidelines except the last one — quit.

    Anything else is you failing yourself.

    If you’re smart you’ll step into another position picked up before quiting elsewhere.

    Here’s the biggest secret nobody ever really slapped you in the face with enough times for you to really come to grips with it — DO NOT ACCUMULATE DEBT! It’s the greatest secret to happiness because it keeps your options always open. You’ll never be dependent on a miserable job to meet your financial obligations because your obligations can be met for a fraction of your current salary.

  13. Sara says:

    Great post, John! What has helped me at times is to remember that we need time to process (a fun way of saying “chill and do nothing!”) – all input and output for too long a stretch is depleting. Saw that on a great positivity blog a while back but don’t remember whose – or maybe it was a thread here! ūüėČ

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  16. Dave Dragon says:

    tom bar said: “Here‚Äôs the biggest secret nobody ever really slapped you in the face with enough times for you to really come to grips with it ‚ÄĒ DO NOT ACCUMULATE DEBT! It‚Äôs the greatest secret to happiness because it keeps your options always open. You‚Äôll never be dependent on a miserable job to meet your financial obligations because your obligations can be met for a fraction of your current salary.”

    I couldn’t agree more with these statements!
    Debt removes options at the time when you really need them.

    -Dave Dragon
    [url=]Ride it like you stole it[/url]

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  22. Dhananjay says:

    Very useful tips and I am so happy to find these at a right time. Though I am not intending to quit but still I would like to learn the art of handling the depression and build the power of sub concious mind to overcome on stressful situations.
    THank you very much.

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  25. ragy mansour says:

    this will help me so much,i think u must be tired 2 know this grat parts of human body

  26. Drew says:

    I get tired easily which is caused by my lack of respect for my body. I sleep late and enjoy too much internet. I feel like I am stealing from myself, if that’s even possible.

  27. Drew says:


  28. Charmo says:

    interesting concept tombar, as i have let the finances slip i am contemplating getting back to an office job (which i dont particularly like) to get on top of things. Best advice: dont let the finances slip.

    Unless i get my big break soon looks like i will be going down this avenue :(

  29. ryan says:

    Great tips never giving up is one of the best tips around. That is why it is one of the best tips of the best free e-book “23 Steps to Spiritual Health.”

    You can download more tips for free here…

  30. me says:

    I like the quiting thing it gives me permission to commit suicide

  31. Brent says:

    :-) I gave up reading this half way through :-) Just teasing. Good suggestions.

  32. Pingback: STOP HURTING….START ROCKING….but dont forget to lick your wounds… :-) « Siouxsiestar's Blog

  33. Danielle says:

    Great article,

    I found all of these to be helpful and found they help put a lot into
    perspective for me. I hope that others find them as helpful, I know I did!

  34. Nancygiver says:

    Thanks for clearing my brain. ¬†It’s just hard when you’re doing all the right things and stuff gets in your way – it feels to me that the ¬†laws of nature are not on my side. ¬†I guess it’s just emotional…

  35. Vaggelispal says:


  36. Ag5 says:

    Thank you so much for this I have been really depressed lately because I lost my job.¬† I ‘ve been dealing with so many issues and I didn’t know what to do.¬† thank you so much.

  37. Ag5 says:

    Thank you so much for this I have been really depressed lately because I lost my job.¬† I ‘ve been dealing with so many issues and I didn’t know what to do.¬† thank you so much.

  38. Jimmy Yorke says:

    Great post. i love it.

  39. Jimmy Yorke says:

    Great post. i love it.

  40. Jazz says:

    Great post!

  41. ihearttyson says:

    can you quit on life?

  42. Mariah keel says:

    Yes, and many people has…

  43. Thisis says:


  44. Thisis says:


  45. Rkngel says:

    What? Some of the points are helpful. Far from garbage.

  46. Miss Lego says:

    Hmmm tip number 8 rings the bell to me. I have done everything I thought I had to to and still I am bogged down to nothing. I honestly don’t know what to think about my such bad luck to succed in everything I set up my mind to, it’s just impossibe. This was a good read, really.

  47. Miss Lego says:

    Hmmm tip number 8 rings the bell to me. I have done everything I thought I had to to and still I am bogged down to nothing. I honestly don’t know what to think about my such bad luck to succed in everything I set up my mind to, it’s just impossibe. This was a good read, really.

  48. Aleshia says:

    Love this! Thanks!

  49. Ro says:

    k, so wat do u wen this stuff happens like every month, or evry fortnight???

  50. Asdg says:


  51. Williammalloryturner says:

    Recently I wanted to quit life. I sat down and wrote my story and how it would be if I quit. I read the story after and showed it to a friend. I did not know that he was a professional columnist. He asked if I really wrote it. When i said yes he sent it off to the palce that he worked. They called me a few days latter and offered me a job writting for a popular television program. They still don’t know that the story was about me. My misery brought home a check that paid all my bills and then some.

    And now I am writting for a sitcome

  52. Andrew says:

    im a competetive swimmer and i used to be one of the fasted in the nation, now its just ive had so many setbacks, i feel like i cant go anymore, but i just got to keep on fightin….. its hard…. really hard. sometimes i want to quit, but ik in my heart and deep down its just a gutt feelin that somethin will happen great again.¬†

  53. Today..or sometimes when I find my self¬† failing, I just want to give up. Hide. I have a small cry over it and try to think again. Because deep down, I know nobody can help me. That my worst enemy is myself. So I know these steps already, but these points had to be reinforced to remind myself. Maybe I’m too stupid to oversome this problem. I can’t give up without trying. If I still can’t overcome my problem, then I haven’t tried enough or it’s not the end of the world. I know it’s hard but I’ll try to remember this quote, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it’s ability to climb tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

  54. Safraz Khan says:

    Being honest to ourselves is the greatest payout in life. So many more doors open up when we express ourselves with truth. All the best to you and your new venture!

  55. Safraz Khan says:

    have* – wait..I really want to be open minded about this. I can’t place my finger on the grammar error though. Thought I’d share my thoughts to gain your perspective.

  56. -M√ĮStr√©sS- Of M√ĮNdS~ says:

    Well, I can’t¬†believe that people like you still¬†exists. One mishap and i’m put on display. Nice looking out.

  57. Bill says:

    ¬†And yet you can’t spell worth a damn. How do they like it at the “sitcome” when, as a writer,¬† you can’t spell “writing”? You shouldn’t lie. People who are desperate need real hope, not fake claims and empty platitudes.

  58. Bill says:

    ¬†“exist.” Get yourself a grammar book. You covered this stuff in second and third grade.

  59. Mariahkeel says:

    Dude your on the internet patrolling spelling, And for your information EXISTS IS A FUCKING WORD look it up you dumb fuck.

  60. Bill says:

    ¬†“people like you still¬†exists.” “Exists” is a verb and the verb form does not agree with the subject in this usage. It has to be “people like you exist.” And “your” is a possessive pronoun, not the contraction “you’re” that you mean.¬† Again, this is second grade stuff. I don’t patrol. I simply point it out when I see it, which is what you tried to do. So who is the dumb fuck?

  61. Kumara3 says:

    Dumb fuck, the error was grammatical, not spelling. 

  62. Chantal Putnam says:

    Just read this, and I find it amusing that the comments were more intriguing to me than the actual topic.
    I’m also recently stressed out in school though- all that teenage hormones raging through my adolescent body, attractive males that only have one thing on their minds, rejection when i try to make friends, bad rep, strangely enough im drawn to shady or sketchy people like emos or stoners, wasnt prepared for academic work, constantly lose things-including my mind. Currently without a backpack, which I believe someone stole and threw away. I searched everywhere. Spent mindless hours and my work is gone. And I’m at risk of staying back a grade. Which is plain awful and humiliating.¬† My dad currently is telling me I hang out with scumballs and I’m becoming that 5% of stupid people in my highschool who don’t succeed in life. My reputation is just horrible. I have a history in my new school now for being a “slut”. this is because I get thiese teenage hormones and i flirt with guys sometimes. too much. and i just wish people didnt rtell other people to ignore me cuz im weird and from a differnt. And i so badly want to pass my classes and impress my teachers but im constantly failing. in not only their eyes but in mine :(((((((
    Oh, the fun life of a teen. And i’m sure it only gets worse as an adult.

  63. Aquarius Scorpio says:

    oooooooooooooooooo boooooogi wooooooogi we are all winners why worry we won the race of life we are here on a nice planet of waterfalls sunshine n flowers we can all love something even if its just a tree there always be destroyers of life and the world just dont be one off them does it matter what we look like or spell like  all thoes little sperms that set of in the race you all won  youv got the gift of life you won it my what a race we are the champs show off we are all winners why waste life moaning about things that dont really matter do they enjoy it be happy champs mmm marilyn

  64. abc says:

    All those things get better…you have the opportunity to create a new you every day…you are a queen and your body is a temple care for it and your mind…being attractive is a responsibility…have dignity and strive for maturity…there is only one you….set your goals high and you will be¬† surprised…everyone has gifts…

  65. says:

    ¬†You attract into your life what you subconsciously are thinking. You don’t happen to like emos, ect you have attracted them into your life.

  66. Bowen says:

    i was with it through step 2, after that just made me feel worse. i have a wonderful 11m old son, he is the only thing that keeps me from giving up on life. im left feeling like i physical could just fall over and die. 

  67. Blenner2 says:

    If all you’re worried about is spelling and grammar you have no problems.¬† So, go away, take a good hard, long look at yourselves ¬†and leave this post to those who need and appreciate the advice.

  68. AJJ says:

    Good for you. I stumble on others grammar garbage also. I feel texting morality is important.

  69. Taniquascyrus says:

    Man i dnt know what to do the man i love and pregnant by he say he love me but man i dnt know he said when i left his grandmothers house he thought we were done but we wasn’t he got object the chatline and meet someone but he said sense we are together he want talk to here or see her no more but now he spending a nite with here who know what the duck them does doing somebody please tell me Wat to Do im bout to lose it text me the aanswer 405 824 2687

  70. Taniquascyrus says:

    YYes u are so rite so always tell the truth

  71. Mcmahon360 says:

    Can’t read the fkin article because the advertisement can’t be closed via iPhone – thanks – quite helpful

  72. Rich Largman says:

    Totally agree, especially with #8.  Sometimes you have to quit to WIN!  All too often people, especially Americans, consider the option of quitting to be negative.  Here are 3 examples of people who quit on their path to winning.

  73. Electrome says:

    Does it really matter ?
    Is it so impotant ?

  74. Willsied8 says:


  75. dedmanwalking says:

    fuck everything fuck everyone fuck the planet and the animals and the plants and all the fucking micro organizms in the ocean … i just want to die

  76. bored says:

    # 8 is right where i am at, just need to refocus, need a hobby, bored to tears. tu

  77. bored says:

    well a least the person has a imagination if its not true give em a break -perfect lol

  78. Alice says:

    I only wish life was that simple for some of us.

  79. Roz says:

    You may want to take stock in your need to have an issue with someone who had no issue with you. I’m sorry, do you know this person? Maybe you have insight that others do not? I think it is pretty amusing that you got no response from the one you called a liar. Could it be that they gave not one single shit about your trolling and bully style of negativity? I hope you get your attitude taken care of, you could hurt someone with it, though it seems your intent anyway.

  80. zincboy123 says:

    That sounds like complete and utter bs.

  81. ms says:

    “If anyone lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault. ” James 1
    People are so quick to advise others to seek answers from “experts” when the Lord is a prayer away!

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