By now, you have probably realized that the act of setting goals does not insulate your life from difficulty. However, I believe that one benefit of doing so is the fortification of your internal navigation to weather storms and inconveniences when they come, not if they come. That mindset isn't propagating an attitude of pessimism; it's realizing that imperfect people in an imperfect world with imperfect circumstances don't yield perfect results 100% of the time.
With that said, what you and I need in life is the mature character to be a finisher. Finish what you started. Stay committed to the journey even when you realize that your emotions jumped ship at the last rest stop. More importantly, stay committed to the journey especially when things are taking longer than anticipated and are more difficult and personally costly than initially perceived. The truth is that difficulties and delays, whether you like it or not, build the muscle of character necessary to maturely sustain the very thing (goal, desire, outcome) you're pursuing. And the development of that muscle, along with the promise of a hope-filled future, is the very reason you must never give up on this journey called “life.”
Don't Give Up! Get a Bigger View: Perspective Produces Clarity
You’re probably familiar with the saying, “he couldn’t see the forest for the tress.” The meaning of the statement is this: when you focus upon details (or an inconvenience, detour, or problem) too closely, you’ll lose perspective of the big picture; perspective that produces clarity, endurance, and engenders faith for unseen possibilities. A limited viewpoint limits your perspective and a limited perspective limits your possibilities. Worse yet, when it appears as though your possibilities are limited, it won’t be long before discouragement attempts to settle in, and that’s a recipe for retreat and regression. So, take a step back, regain focus, and don’t lose sight of who you’re becoming on the way to where you’re going.
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So, how do you get back on track? Chin-up, look up, and look ahead. Where you are today is not the end of the story. Don’t squander your potential by settling for mediocrity. Just because you’re facing a challenge (or are just bored!) doesn’t mean you should quit. Be a person whose character is strong and resilient. If you’re still breathing, there’s purpose yet for your life, and that’s one reason to never give up.
Don't Give Up! The Expectation Gap: When Disappointment Creates Distraction
Plans change, people don’t deliver on their promises, and unforeseen circumstances intersect great intentions. The common thread? Failed expectations. When expectation and outcome don’t
line-up, disappointment is a natural reaction often exacerbated by a seed of offense. However, disappointment (whether small or great) must be resolved, because unrelenting disappointment will make you heartsick, siphoning emotional and mental energy away from being creative and innovative towards productivity and fulfilling your purpose. Put simply, unresolved disappointment is a distraction that diverts your attention from the solution to endlessly ruminating upon the problem.
What does the progression of unresolved disappointment look like?
- Deferred Hope (Expectation is failed by actual outcome)
- Disappointment (Expressed emotion as a result of failed expectation)
- Despondency (The feeling of being defeated)
- Despair (Resolving that it’s pointless to continue to believe for a good future)
- Desperation & Cynicism
...that's a road you and I cannot afford to travel upon.
Your heart is the engine room of your life, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My friend, guard it diligently. Keep it free from lingering offenses and complications. Giving up and giving into a life of disappointment, despondency, and despair is a small, complicated life, and I don’t believe that’s who you are. On the other side of perseverance, finishing what you started, and staying in the game until the end is well built character modeled for your children, friends, and even your co-workers; character that will pay dividends into your own life.
There’s too little to gain by giving up and even more to lose. Though you don’t see how all the dots connect, it doesn’t mean they won’t.