Never give up

Never give up.

It’s a simple statement, but it represents a profoundly difficult course of action. There are few phrases that can be both inspiring and formidable. However, it represents one part of a larger statement. If one wants to succeed at anything in life, then they must persevere despite the obstacles that come their way. This can be very difficult, since there are many people who will be willing to tell you that what you are striving for is not worth it, that no matter how hard you try, you will never achieve your goals.

These are the voices of people who have doomed themselves to failure. Perhaps they have come to this conclusion because they themselves have failed in their own attempts. If you try repeatedly but fail to achieve your goals, it’s easy to get discouraged. Sometimes it is more comfortable, psychologically, emotionally, and physically, to give up dreams rather than keep trying.

These negative voices are not always external. Doubt is a great detriment to success. If you are already questioning the importance or plausibility of a particular goal, then the obstacles you face come to seem even bigger than they are. If one allows negative thoughts to rule their perceptions, all tasks become more difficult.

It is the simple truth that nothing has ever been accomplished by giving up, except, of course, succeeding in giving up.

It may also be the case that the detractors you come across don’t see the value in the goals you’ve set for yourself. Someone focused only on financial gain may not be able to perceive the rewards of creating a beautiful portrait. Conversely, someone who focuses purely on the artistic may be unable to comprehend the gratification someone else derives from rising through the ranks of the corporate world.

The first step to success at anything is learning not to listen to detractors, including internalized ones. It is important to realize that in order to be successful, one must be willing to try. As hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t make.”

This is much more difficult than it seems. The fear of failure is common. Nobody wants to look stupid in front of others. No one wants to have to go to bed at night with the knowledge that they have given their all and yet have not acquired what they were looking for.

There are a number of methods that can be used to increase the chances of success that apply to almost all situations. These techniques are quite general, but can be modified to suit specific situations.

Believe you can

The only thing that’s harder than trying is trying when you don’t feel like you can succeed. It is important to know, deep down in your heart, that you are capable of achieving your goals. This can be achieved through various methods. Some recommend positive imagery: imagining yourself what you’ll look like after you’ve achieved what you’re trying to achieve, and then determining how you got there. Stand in front of the mirror each morning and give yourself a pep talk. Ignore those who say you can’t.

examine your goals

Is there a reason why you still haven’t been able to reach your goals? Is your goal realistic? Maybe being a professional basketball player isn’t in the cards if you’re only five feet tall (although it’s still possible). Are there things you should do before setting your sights on a higher goal? Is what you are fighting for what you really want? A little self-examination may reveal that the reason you haven’t been able to move towards your goal is that you’re holding yourself back due to the fact that it’s not what you really want.

make a plan

This is closely related to examining your goals. People often fail because they achieve something before they are ready for it. For example, no one expects to become a doctor or lawyer without first obtaining the proper education and credentials. Look at your overall goal and create a list of steps you need to achieve before you can finally get what you want. Break these steps down into smaller, more manageable goals. This will not only help you move towards your goal, but will provide you with a series of successes that will help build your confidence, making it easier for you to continue. At the end of the day, instead of saying, “I didn’t get to X again,” you’ll say, “Today I got to Z, which brings me that much closer to X.”

Sacrifices May Be Required

Whether your goal is to be a top lawyer, an author, or the best snowboarder in the world, you’ll need to spend time working toward that end. Study, research and practice will become your watchwords. There will be times when you would rather do something else and you will have to miss it. Remember that these sacrifices bring you closer to what you want to achieve.

The journey is as important as the destination

Conversely, don’t focus so much on one goal that you waste the rest of your life. While being motivated is often considered a positive trait, so is the ability to relax and enjoy life. Focusing too long and too hard on one thing will only result in someone getting burned out quickly. By the time that one thing is acquired, it may have lost all its value. Take time for friends, family, and fun, along with working toward your goal.

Remember that ultimately life is a series of successes and failures. No one achieves their goals on the first try. The obstacles that life puts in front of us make it that much sweeter when we reach our destination.

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